Saints begin cup defence with Dublin derby against Rovers

It’s the cup holders versus the all-time cup record-holders at Richmond Park tonight when St Patrick’s Athletic host Shamrock Rovers in the stand-out tie of a hectic FAI Cup second round weekend.

“The cup is very different for us this year as we go into the game as champions,” said Pat’s boss Liam Buckley, who saw his side finally lay the club’s long-running cup hoodoo last year.

“We all know what it’s like now to play in the Aviva Stadium in November and experience that winning feeling, so the players will be motivated to get the win Friday and take it from there.”

Pat’s are without the services of Greg Bolger who sits the game out through suspension after accumulating five yellow cards while skipper Ger O’Brien will face a fitness test on a hamstring injury before the game.

For Rovers, Danny North is the only one to miss out, after undergoing an operation on his knee yesterday.

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“I’m very much looking forward to this year’s cup campaign getting underway,” said Hoops boss Pat Fenlon. “I don’t need to explain how much this competition means to Shamrock Rovers, especially to the fans. Both sides will see this game as a tough test, and it is certainly the tie of the round. We’ll be going out with the sole aim of being in the next round come 9.30pm.”

In Wexford, it will be second in the Premier Division versus second in the First, as Cork City head to Ferrycarrig Park to take on Wexford Youths, with City boss John Caulfield clear in his mind about the game’s importance.

“The FAI Cup is a huge cup, it is the second biggest competition in the country after the league,” he said.

“It’s also a pathway to Europe and the final is in the Aviva Stadium, so it’s huge competition.”

Alan Bennett is available following a hamstring injury, but Danny Morrissey is ruled out as he continues to recover from an injury sustained in the EA Sports Cup. John Dunleavy and Kieran Djilali remain sidelined with knee injuries.

Weekend FAI Cup schedule:

Tonight:

Friday May 29 - Bohemians v Firhouse Clover, Dalymount Park, 7.45; Bray Wanderers v Limerick, Carlisle Grounds, 7:45; Dundalk v Shelbourne, Oriel Park, 7.45; Drogheda United v Cabinteely, United Park, 7.45; Dundalk v Shelbourne, Oriel Park, 7.45; Galway United v North End United, Eamonn Deacy Park, 7.45; St. Patrick’s Athletic v Shamrock Rovers, Richmond Park, 7.45; Tolka Rovers v Waterford United, Frank Cooke Park, 7.45; Longford Town v Finn Harps, City Calling Stadium, 8:00; Wexford Youths v Cork City, Ferrycarrig Park, 8:00.

Tomorrow:

Killester United v Cobh Ramblers, Haddon Park, 2.30; Athlone Town v Liffey Wanderers, Athlone Town Stadium, 7.45.

Sunday:

Cobh Wanderers v Avondale United, Old Church Park, 2.00; Edenderry Town v Derry City, Paddy Maloney Park, 2.00; Cockhill Celtic v St. Mochta’s, Charlie O’Donnell SG, 2.30; Sligo Rovers v Crumlin United, The Showgrounds, 5:00; and UCD v Sheriff YC, The UCD Bowl, 7.00.

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