With Limerick boss Martin Russell freely admitting after the weekend victory over Cabinteely that, at 21 points clear and with just seven games remaining, his team are already “home and hosed” as First Division champions, the runaway leaders will this evening get a taste of what’s in store for them next season when they travel to Richmond Park to play St Patrick’s Athletic in the third round of the FAI Cup.
It’s a cup clash which will also double as a full dress rehearsal for a cup final, since both clubs will meet again in the EA Sports Cup final at the Market’s Field on September 17.
Richmond Park will be familiar territory for Russell who won two league titles during his playing career as a midfielder with Pat’s, and his achievements on Shannonside this season have drawn warm praise from the current boss in Inchicore, Liam Buckley.
“This is the first of two big games we have coming up against Limerick and Martin has them going great this year,” he said, “We’ll have to do our homework and be at our best against them. It’s going to be tight tonight so the players know they have to be at it from minute one to 90-plus.”
Pat’s U21 international midfielder Lee Desmond agrees: “Winning every week builds confidence, so it’ll be a really tough game against Limerick. They’re definitely going to be in the Premier Division next year, and having kept a lot of their team from last year, they’re very settled. With players like Aaron Greene in their side, we’re not going to underestimate them.”
Pat’s won’t be Limerick’s first Premier Division opponents this year, with the First Division invincibles having accounted for Wexford Youths, Galway United and, in a particularly notable scalp away from home, Derry City en route to the EA Sports Cup decider against the Dublin side.
For the Candystripes, tonight’s destination is the northside of the capital as they travel to Dalymount Park to face Bohemians in the FAI Cup. The Gypsies come into the game on the back of a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Sligo Rovers in the league, but it’s Derry who will be looking to make it three-in-row against Keith Long’s side, having already beaten Bohs 1-0 home and away in the league this season.
Here’s a little extra sport. Watch the latest BallTalk for the best sports chat and analysis: Who will be Premier League Champions 2016/17?
In tonight’s other all-Premier Division clash in the cup, Wexford Youths are at home to Sligo Rovers (kick off 8pm) while, in the remaining third round fixture this evening, Shamrock Rovers will be hot favourites to prevail away to an Athlone Town side propping up the First Division.
On Saturday Cork City travel to Longford Town in the cup while Turner’s Cross will host the all-Cork clash between the Munster Senior League’s Ringmahon Roversand League of Ireland First Division side Cobh Ramblers. UCD will host Janesboro at the Belfield Bowl.
Tonight there is also one league game being played tonight and it’s a Premier Division clash at Eamonn Deacy Park where Galway United host Bray Wanderers.
Unless otherwise indicated, all tonight’s games kick off at 7.45pm while any replays required after this evening’s cup action will take place on Monday, August 22.
Here’s a little extra sport. Watch the latest BallTalk for the best sports chat and analysis: Which teams are relegation candidates this season?
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved