Cork City will be hoping for more joy against Longford Town at senior level tonight after it was confirmed the club’s U19s are to become the first Irish side to compete in the UEFA Youth League.
In the Airtricity League Premier Division, City host bottom of the table Longford Town at Turner’s Cross (7.45pm, live on RTÉ 2) having beaten them 4-1 away in the FAI Cup last Saturday. But Cork boss John Caulfield is expecting the visitors to be a different proposition under new manager Alan Mathews, as the home side, currently in third place, look to close a four-point gap on leaders Dundalk.
“Knowing Alan, he’s an experienced manager and he builds from the back, so we expect them to be very solid defensively,” he said. “We expect they will come down to hit us on the counter, so I don’t think last Saturday’s game will have any relevance on Friday.
“There are 13 games to go in the league, we are four points off top and we are in a fantastic position but we need a win on Friday night.” The club are already celebrating after Celtic, Manchester City, Porto and Dundalk’s conquerors Legia Warsaw progressed in the Champions League which, in turn, saw their under-age sides qualify automatically in the Uefa Youth League. As a result, spots opened up in the Domestic Champions side of the draw and, as Irish U19 Champions, Cork City now take their place at the top table of European youth football.
Manager Steven Bermingham said: “We came back into training last night and the lads were ecstatic. A dream has become a reality as to play against some of the top clubs in Europe will be an unbelievable experience and opportunity for them.”
Meanwhile, back in the domestic top-flight, tonight’s other fixtures are: St Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians, Richmond Park; Finn Harps v Shamrock Rovers, Finn Park (8pm) and Wexford Youths v Dundalk, Ferrycarrig Park (8pm).
In the First Division, it’s Athlone Town v Cabinteely, Athlone Town Stadium and Waterford United v Drogheda United, R.S.C while, in a friendly, Limerick host Oman at the Markets Field (7pm).
Unless otherwise indicated, tonight’s games kick off at 7.45pm.
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