Although, after tonight, the defending champions and still red-hot favourites would have a game in hand on their rivals, their 2-2 draw away to bogey team Bohs on Friday — while City were beating Galway 1-0 at home — has breathed fresh life into the title race.
“It’s a six-pointer,” says City boss John Caulfield of tonight’s game against Pat’s, who were hammered 4-0 at the same venue in the FAI Cup just over a week ago. “We could nearly box off Europe if we got the right result, but if Pat’s win, they’re back in it.” The loss of their FAI Cup crown highlighted a nightmarish period for Pat’s, and star man Chris Forrester has left the club for Peterborough, coming on the heels of loss at home to Derry on Friday.
For Cork, Dan Murray and Steven Beattie are suspended while John Dunleavy, John Kavanagh and Gavan Holohan are injured. Danny Morrissey and Darren Dennehy are rated 50/50 while there is a doubt over Mark McNulty.
The weekend’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division action saw Damien Duff make his first start for Shamrock Rovers but the Hoops’ slim title ambitions suffered as they were held 1-1 at the Showgrounds by Sligo Rovers, Sander Puri’s goal for Sligowas cancelled out by a Gary McCabe free-kick. In the top-flight’s other game on Saturday, Longford Town halted their seven-game winless streak beating Bray 1-0 at the City Calling Stadium.
Former Ireland international Mark Kinsella is to take charge of Drogheda for the rest of the season after Johnny McDonnell left the club by mutual consent.