Garry Buckley and Mark O’Sullivan ‘touch and go’ for FAI Cup final, admits Cork City boss John Caulfield

Cork City will give injury concerns Garry Buckley (hamstring) and Mark O’Sullivan (knee) every chance to prove their fitness ahead of tomorrow’s FAI Cup final against Dundalk, but John Caulfield admits that it’s “touch and go” for both players.

Garry Buckley and Mark O’Sullivan ‘touch and go’ for FAI Cup final, admits Cork City boss John Caulfield

The City boss said: “Mark O’Sullivan has a knock which he got in the Bray match. His injury is clearing up but it is still touch and go, so we will be giving him right up to kick-off to prove his fitness.

“Garry Buckley, likewise, has been out for the last couple of weeks. He has done some light training and we will also give him up to kick-off.”

Caulfield believes his “underdogs” can have their day tomorrow against the triple champions and cup holders.

“Everyone is looking forward to the cup final,” he says.

“We are the underdogs going into the game and Dundalk are the hot favourites, but we know that if we bring our best performance, we can win the cup and that is what we are hoping to do.

“We have a new team this year which has energy and pace and they are capable of giving a big performance.

“There is a fantastic buzz around the city and county. I know the local leagues, both at schoolboy and senior level, have no fixtures tomorrow to allow people to get to the game and that is fantastic to see.

“There are clubs from all over the city and the county running buses and joining in the Rebel march on the Aviva Stadium. I would urge all of our supporters to get into the ground early and create the kind of atmosphere they are capable of, to try and help us bring home the cup.”

Despite the disappointment of losing narrowly to Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League on Thursday night, Dundalk reported no fresh injury problems after the game as their attentions quickly turned to tomorrow’s domestic finale.

Captain Stephen O’Donnell was left out of the starting line-up for the game at the Petrovsky Stadium with one eye on the Lilywhites’ bid to complete the double-double but, after coming off the bench, he came through the second half unscathed in what was only his second outing since a return from a lay-off with a hamstring problem.

Darren Meenan will also link up with the squad again at the team hotel in Dublin tonight having missed the trip to Russia due to a family bereavement.

That leaves Robbie Benson as the only major doubt for Stephen Kenny ahead of the final. The former UCD midfielder picked up a hamstring strain in the final league match at home to Galway Utd last Friday but travelled to St Petersburg with the team in order to receive ongoing treatment from physios Ferghal Kerin and Sam Rice.

Benson undertook co-commentary duties with local radio station LMFM for Thursday’s game, and the word from the Dundalk camp afterwards was that he “has a chance” of making a return at the Aviva Stadium as he bids to win his first FAI Cup.

The only other absentee for Dundalk is Shane Grimes, who won’t play again this year having torn his hamstring off the bone at the end of last month. There is confidence that tomorrow’s final will see a crowd in excess of the 25,000 who watched Dundalk beat Cork 1-0 last year.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will be among those attending.

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