Munster Senior League champions Avondale United are favourites to lift a fifth FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup when they meet Cherry Orchard in a repeat of last year’s final at Tallaght Stadium tomorrow (3pm).
Avondale have been in imperious form and had the MSL title wrapped up weeks ago but will be wary of a Cherry Orchard side gunning for revenge after going down 1-0 to an extra-time goal from Colin O’Brien at Turner’s Cross last season, and will fancy their chances with the final being played in Dublin.
The Leinster Senior League side will need to be on top form, however, if they are to deny former Cork City player John Cotter’s side back-to-back titles and a fourth cup in seven years.
Cotter only took over the reigns at the start of last season and won the cup at the first time of asking. This season his side have been in even better form and will look to captain Karl Caulfield to pull the strings in midfield and the prolific Mark O’Sullivan, who was devastated to miss last year’s final through suspension, up front.
This will be the first time Cotter’s side have faced a side outside of Cork in this season’s competition having beaten fellow Cork sides Leeds, Youghal United, Blarney United, College Corinthians and Everton in previous rounds. They have also won the last three cups, in 2006, 2007 and 2011 at Turner’s Cross and Cotter, who scored the winner in the 2007 final against Bangor Celtic said: “It will be a little bit unusual to travel to Dublin but this is a one-off winner-takes-all game and with it being the final, we well need no extra motivation.”
Cherry Orchard beat Templeogue United, Glenville, Mount Merrion, Mayfield United, Malahide United and Verona en route to tomorrow’s final.
Orchard, who last won the cup in 1998, can’t wait for another crack at the Cork side. Captain Paddy Collins said: “The Intermediate Cup was always the focus to make up for last year’s disappointment and being Avondale in the final, it’s even more special.”
* A David Kenny goal secured the AOH Cup for Killumney United after they beat Park United 1-0 at Turner’s Cross last night.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved