Cork City will get the post-Sean Maguire era up and running when they resume their seemingly unstoppable charge to the league title at home to Galway United tonight (7.45pm).
With Maguire and Kevin O’Connor having made their final appearances for the club in the Europa League defeat to AEK Larnaca, before making their debuts for Preston North End in midweek, City’s focus is firmly back on domestic affairs and this evening they will be looking to take advantage of Dundalk’s loss to Shamrock Rovers to extend their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League to 18 points.
But to do so they will have to get the better of the only team in the Premier Division they have failed to beat this season, Galway having spoiled City’s otherwise perfect league record by holding the leaders to a 1-1 draw at Eamonn Deasy Park in May.
“We have won two leagues in 33 years, so we are just keeping our focus like we have done all year, taking it game by game and getting the points on the board,” says manager John Caulfield.
“We have put ourselves in a good position and we need to make sure we keep that up. If you look too far ahead, you will drop points, so we have to keep it going. We have to be at our maximum and, thankfully, this season we have been for nearly all of the matches and that is what we need again tonight.”
Caulfield needs no reminding that tonight’s visitors to Turner’s Cross are the only side against whom City have dropped points in the league this season.
“We face a Galway side who have fantastic players,” he says. “We know Gavan Holohan and Stephen Folan well, and they have brought in guys like Lee Grace, David Cawley and Ronan Murray. We drew with them earlier in the season in a 50/50 game, they have won their last two games, they have turned things around and we know they will be tough opponents.”
While John Dunleavy is ruled out for the rest of the season, injury worries Jimmy Keohane and Alan Bennett will be assessed ahead of kick off this evening. Unbeaten in three games since losing to Dundalk, the Tribesman arrive in Turner’s Cross on the back of wins at home to Limerick and Drogheda United but they still occupy one of the three relegation places in the Premier Division.
Gavan Holohan will be returning to his former home at the Cross in fine fettle having notched a hat-trick in last week’s 4-1 victory over Drogheda and, as he continues to oversee their battle against relegation, manager Shane Keegan this week added former MK Dons goalkeeper Charlie Burns to the Galway panel.
Elsewhere, in the top-flight this evening, bottom side Drogheda are at home to a upwardly mobile St Patrick’s Athletic, Bray Wanderers host Finn Harps, and the most high-profile Dublin derby of them all, Shamrock Rovers against Bohemians, takes place in Tallaght (8pm).
In the First Division, leaders Waterford are at home to Athlone Town, UCD host Cabinteely and Cobh Ramblers make the trip to Ferrycarrig Park to take on Wexford (8pm). Tonight’s SSE Airtricity League games kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.
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