Dunne wants City to put on a show

A PROMOTION campaign still thriving, an EA Sports Cup final to come and, now, another measure of how successful has been the rebirth of Cork City: tonight, Turner’s Cross will not only play host to an FAI Ford Cup quarter-final against St Patrick’s Athletic (RTÉ 2, 7.35pm) but also to live television cameras for the first time since the club endured its darkest days two years ago.

Of course, success is relative and City have won nothing yet.

But the significance of tonight’s occasion as another milestone in the club’s recovery is not lost on manager Tommy Dunne.

“This game offers us the opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the country.

“That is an opportunity that all of us, players and staff, are looking forward to,” he says.

“With this game and next week’s cup final both on television, our supporters have a great opportunity to turn out in numbers and show the rest of the country why this club should be in the Premier Division.”

City and Pat’s have already met this season, the Rebels claiming a 2-1 win at home in the EA Sports Cup, but with the Dubliners currently on a good run — and, anxious, as ever to lay their ancient FAI Cup ghosts to rest — Dunne knows that his First Division contenders will have a rather tougher test tonight than they last weekend when City put seven goals past Athlone Town.

“Although we got a good result on the last occasion we met, St Pat’s will go into the game as favourites, so we are under no illusions as to how tough a game this will be,” the manager says.

For Cork, Daryl Horgan is ruled out as he is cup-tied, while Stephen Mulcahy (knee) and goalkeeper Mark McNulty (back) are also missing. Dunne also has doubts over Neal Horgan, who missed the Athlone game with a knee injury, and Gearoid Morrissey (ankle).

Pat’s travel south hoping to book their spot in the semi-final for the third time in four seasons but haunted by the historical reality that they have not won the FAI Cup since 1961. And manager Pete Mahon is not taking the opposition at all lightly.

“We won’t be making too many changes to the starting line up as this is a very important game for us it terms of our season,” he says.

“We’ll be hoping to get the tie over with tonight and I’m sure Cork will be thinking the same.

“We’ve had a lot of midweek games recently and we would like to get back to a more regular schedule if we can.”

Mahon must plan without David McMillan, who remains out with a hamstring injury. Also absent are Shane Guthrie and Seán O’Connor, who are both cup tied. Danny North will be restored to the starting line-up after his goal from the bench against Shamrock Rovers on Monday.

In tonight’s other FAI Cup quarter-final tie, Bohemians travel to Oriel Park (kick off 7.45pm) just four days after a 3-1 victory over this evening’s hosts Dundalk in the league at Dalymount Park.

Meanwhile, in the Airtricity League First Division, leaders Shelbourne are at home to Limerick while Wexford Youths host Mervue United, both games kick-off at 8pm.

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