Cork look for home comforts in Munster derby

Resilience was one of the key components in Cork City’s title challenge last season and, to judge by their last-gasp equaliser at the Showgrounds last Saturday, it’s a quality they have retained for the new campaign.

Cork look for home comforts in Munster derby

But if that draw with Sligo Rovers must have felt almost like a victory to John Caulfield and his men, they know that tonight, the real thing will be expected of them as they host Limerick in the first league game of 2015 at Turner’s Cross.

Not that the hosts will be complacent, having lost out on penalties to their rivals following a 3-3 draw in their recent Munster Senior Cup clash. But there was absolutely nothing for Martin Russell’s men to cheer about on their debut outing in the league last weekend as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bohemians at Jackman Park.

“It will be a totally different game to the Sligo game,” predicts City boss Caulfield. “Limerick will play on the counter-attack and sit back and try to break quickly, so we will need to move the ball much quicker and get the ball wide. It’s an opportunity for us, but we know we will need to create a lot more chances than we did against Sligo.

“Will we make changes for this weekend? Yes, it is a different type of game, our first home game and we’re really looking forward to it. There is a great buzz around the city and we are expecting a huge crowd.

“We saw last year the atmosphere at Turner’s Cross was incredible and there is no doubt in my mind that the crowd was responsible for a lot of the positive results that we got. As a player here, it is brilliant to walk out in front of your own fans and really put on a performance and win.”

Rob Lehane (groin), Alan Smith (back) and Michael McSweeney (hamstring) all look set to miss out for Cork. Better news for hosts is that Billy Dennehy returns, having missed the opening night through suspension.

For Limerick, defensive duo Paudie O’Connor and Robbie Williams return to the squad but left-back Colm Murphy (hamstring) remains out.

“We’ve already beaten Cork in the Munster Senior Cup,” says Martin Russell. “We know it’s not going to be easy but we know it’s achievable if we put our best foot forward.”

In tonight’s other SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games, reigning champions Dundalk will be looking to make it two out to two when they welcome Derry City to Oriel Park; promoted Galway United play their first away game back in the top flight away to Bohemians; Drogheda United host Sligo Rovers at United Park and, having lost their opening game away to Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic will be confident of bouncing back at home to Bray Wanderers.

Rovers are not back in action until tomorrow, when they travel to the City Calling Stadium to take on promoted Longford Town (7.30pm).

In the First Division, Athlone Town face Martin Cambridge’s Cobh Ramblers at Athlone Town Stadium; UCD v Shelbourne, The UCD Bowl; Finn Harps v Cabinteely, Finn Park; and Wexford Youths v Waterford United, Ferrycarrig Park (8pm).

All games kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise indicated.

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