City’s habit of shipping 11th hour blows has already cost them on the table, with what had looked a likely return of seven points reduced to a mere two by the concession of goals in the dying minutes against Derry City, Shamrock Rovers and Drogheda. Had that five-point deficit been avoided, Cork would now be in joint-third with Dundalk, instead of joint-seventh with Limerick and St Pats.
On the plus side, City retain a game in hand on the majority of the teams above them but that probably only adds to the pressure to extract maximum points from this evening’s game against the division’s basement side.
“I don’t think the result will make or break the season, but we need to try to win every home game,” is how City manager Tommy Dunne sees it. “I was at Belfield on Monday night to see UCD face Sligo Rovers. I think Martin Russell has done a fantastic job at UCD over the last few years, and while they have not started the season well, I do think they are a solid team who have the potential to be dangerous opponents for any team.”
For Cork, Darren Dennehy returns from suspension, but will miss the trip to Sligo next week, having been suspended for one extra game after his sending off against Shamrock Rovers. Brian Lenihan remains sidelined with a long-term groin injury, while the groin problem he suffered against Drogheda means Kevin Murray is also ruled out. Neal Horgan is still out with a knee injury but Dan Murray is available having missed the last two games. Daryl Horgan (ankle) and Adam Rundle (knee) both picked up knocks over the last two games and are doubtful. UCD have Robbie Benson, Mick Leahy and Dean Clarke injured.
Limerick head to Oriel Park (7.45pm) to take on a Dundalk side which has hit the ground running under Stephen Kenny, although the Lilywhites will be anxious to start replicating their fine away form at home.
Says Limerick boss Stuart Taylor: “Dundalk have had an excellent start to the season and Stephen Kenny has them playing good football. I know a lot of the Dundalk team and they are a very strong unit and we will need to be at our best to get a result.”
In tonight’s other Premier Division games, second-placed Derry – hoping to cut the five-point gap at the top before Sligo Rovers play Shelbourne tomorrow — visit Dalymount to face Bohemians (7.05pm), Bray host St Pats (7.45pm) and Shamrock Rovers will be anxious to exchange their habit of drawing games for a much-needed win at home to Drogheda United (8pm).
In the First Division, Cobh Ramblers are away to Salthill Devon (7.45pm), Waterford host Athlone (7.45pm) and Finn Harps welcome Wexford Youths to Finn Park (8pm).