It’s the weekend when some of the country’s top intermediate sides dream of causing a shock against Airtricity League opposition.
But there’s little doubt that the most appealing FAI Cup second round tie comes at Dalymount Park this evening where Premier Division sides Bohemians and Drogheda United collide.
Seven of the 16 second round games take place tonight, and the main event is certainly in Phibsboro where Bohs, who last won the competition in 2008, welcome a United side who have been shipping late goals in recent weeks.
Their league meeting at the beginning of the month ended 2-2 and this evening’s encounter is expected to be similarly close-fought.
Elsewhere, Dundalk, fresh from an impressive win away to league champions Sligo Rovers on Tuesday night, face Dublin side Phoenix at Oriel Park.
“We’ll be well prepared for them, it won’t be easy, no match is, but we will be going out to win,” said Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny. “We won’t be taking them lightly, we don’t take anyone lightly and tonight will be no different.”
Shamrock Rovers will look to avoid a major upset when they make the trip west to face Salthill Devon. After a slow start to the season, Rovers have improved in recent weeks, but Salthill did manage to take a much-changed St Patrick’s Athletic side to extra-time in the EA Sports Cup 10 days ago before recording their first win of the season away to Cobh Ramblers last Friday.
After a run of much-improved results, with just one defeat in their last six, Bray Wanderers will be fancied to overcome the challenge of Mervue United at the Carlisle Grounds, while Shelbourne will seek some respite from their league woes as new manager Johnny McDonnell seeks a first win when Bandon travel to Tolka Park.
This is bonus territory for the West Cork side after they won promotion to the top tier of the Munster Senior League recently. McDonnell will have to plan without Brian Shortall and Jack Memery, who are both suspended. Glen Cronin and Paul Crowley are also injured.
At least one non-league side will make it into the last 16 though, as Tolka Rovers entertain Cork side College Corinthians at Frank Cooke Park.
Finally, Wexford Youths face the daunting trip to Ballybofey to face Finn Harps but will be buoyed by the fact that they took the spoils in last week’s league meeting between the sides, winning 2-1 at Ferrycarrig Park.
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