Hoops and Cork in cup treat

The glamour tie of the FAI Ford Cup third round pits Shamrock Rovers against Cork City in front of the RTÉ television cameras in Tallaght this evening, with an early kick off of 7.05pm.

“This has all the makings of a great game,” says Hoops boss Stephen Kenny. “With two big clubs in the last 16 of the cup, both keen to get through to the next round. We have done well recently, we’ve being keeping clean sheets and have scored good goals, and we need to keep that going. The fact that there is a quarter-final place in the FAI Cup is another great incentive to win this game.”

Cork City manager Tommy Dunne is expecting a tough test from the reigning league champions, who go into the game boosted by a thrilling 3-2 win in the league against Drogheda United.

“Obviously going to Tallaght to face a side that has been in good form in recent weeks is a big ask,” he says.

“But this is another great game for us, after a fantastic game against Drogheda on Monday, so we are going into it looking for another big performance from the players. I hope we give a good account of ourselves and hopefully book a place in the next round.”

Dunne has a lengthy list of absentees going into the tie. John Dunleavy remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Colin Healy (thigh strain), Cathal Lordan (knee) and Eoghan Murphy (ankle) are also ruled out. Keith Quinn, Brian Lenihan and Graham McCarthy are all cup-tied. Dunne also has doubts over Garry Buckley (foot), Neal Horgan (knee) and Gearóid Morrissey (ankle).

For Rovers, Graham Gartland (back), Stephen O’Donnell (hamstring) and Ken Oman (suspension) are all out but Aaron Greene has returned to full training and is back in contention for the team.

Cork City are not the only Cork club doing cup battle in Dublin tonight, as Avondale United take on Bohemians at Dalymount Park, with Bohs manager Aaron O’Callaghan praising the Munster Senior League representatives as “probably the strongest non-league team around”.

The fact that they have yet to officially kick off their own season might be considered a disadvantage for Avondale, but O’ Callaghan is not about to underestimate the FAI Intermediate Cup holders.

“It’s a tie we can win but it’s also a tie we have to be careful about,” he says. “The fact that we’re at home means the onus is on to attack and use the big pitch at Dalymount, which should suit us more than it suits them. But they are a big, organised, strong team. They play a 3-5-2 system which is slightly unusual. They’re probably the strongest non-league team around.”

In tonight’s other FAI Ford Cup games, it’s Drogheda United v Wexford Youths, Hunky Dorys Park; Malahide United v Dundalk, Gannon Park; UCD v Derry City, UCD Bowl; Waterford United v Mervue United, RSC; and Shelbourne v Cherry Orchard, Tolka Park (8pm).

Meanwhile, in a rescheduled Airtricity League Premier Division game, Sligo Rovers will be looking to put a lock on their lead at the top when they visit a St Pat’s side determined to close the gap at Richmond Park this evening. The game kicks off at 7.45pm as do all tonight’s cup ties unless otherwise indicated.

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