Five former Irish internationals will star in Tallaght on Friday as two of the title favourites face off early on in the season, writes Seán Ó Murchú.
Names like Stephen McPhail and Colin Healy will do battle tonight. The former has featured in a Champions League semi-final, while Healy just missed out on playing in the 2002 World Cup as a back up to Roy Keane, due to his fellow Corkman’s indecisiveness during the infamous Saipan incident.
They will be joined by new signings Liam Miller and Keith Fahey, with Alan Bennett also returning home to Leeside after a lengthy period in English football. Seeing star names like those mentioned play against each other can only be good for the league.
Shamrock Rovers go into this match high on confidence after winning their first two games of the season without conceding a goal. Hoops Manager Pat Fenlon has recruited strongly, adding to a squad which has arguably under-achieved in recent years.
League of Ireland stalwart Danny North has added some much-needed firepower up-front and Rovers fans will hope he can cause a few problems for the league’s meanest defence.
Often criticised for their style of play last season, John Caulfield was set on a more aesthetically pleasing approach when his team lined out at home against Limerick and it paid off as they strolled to a 5-0 win in front of just under 5,000 fans.
Whether this approach continues away from home remains to be seen, much will become clear once the starting eleven has been named. Should last season’s talisman Mark O’Sullivan be leading the line, expect his aerial prowess to be too much of a temptation and for Healy and Miller to spend the evening watching the ball fly over their heads.
This match will be an acid test for two sides who fancy themselves as title challengers and an exciting clash of household names, who once represented our country internationally, alongside those who will hope to in the future.
Pundit Arena Prediction
Shamrock Rovers 2-2 Cork City
Last Two Meetings
League, 5th September, 2014: Cork City 1-0 Shamrock Rovers
EA Sports Cup, 21st July, 2014: Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Cork City
Probable Line Ups
Cork City: Mc Nulty; Dunleavy, Bennett, D. Dennehy, Gaynor; Healy, Miller, Holohan, B. Dennehy; D Morrissey, Sheppard.
Shamrock Rovers: Hyland; Madden, Webster, Byrne, Kenna; McPhail, Fahey, Waters, Mc Cabe; North, O’ Connor.
Referee: Neil Doyle
Assistants: Allen Lynch, Emmet Dynan
Fourth Official: Paul Tuite
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena
Read More About: alan bennett, colin healy, cork city, irish football, Irish football news, john caulfield, keith fahey, League of Ireland news, Liam Miller, loi news, LOI Premier Division, pat fenlon, Shamrock Rovers, stephen mcphail