Cork City entertains St Patrick’s Athletic Friday night in Turner’s Cross and Stephen Walsh is here to preview this crucial clash.
Friday night’s game will be a battle of second and third in the table. A win for Pat’s would put them into second place owing to a better goal difference while a win for the home side could see them close the gap with Dundalk to three points.
This will be the third meeting of the sides this season in the league with the first game ending 1-1 while St Pat’s won the second game 3-2. The first game was played in front of a huge crowd in Turners Cross of over 5,000 people saw Christy Fagan cancel out Gary Buckley’s early goal to let the game finish 1-1.
The Saints ran out winners in the second game on a 3-2 score line owing to a brace of goals from Conan Byrne and a Kenny Browne strike to cancel out Mark O’ Sullivan and Rob Lehane’s goals for City.
Cork City come into this game on the back of three straight defeats to Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians and Dundalk, respectively, so will be hoping to get back to form for what should be a tough test. Manager John Caulfield spoke to the media about how his side have reacted to the defeat last week.
“Everyone was disappointed with the result against Dundalk, but the training sessions this week were excellent. There is feeling, nationally, that we are out of the running; I don’t feel that. I think the players feel that maybe they were unlucky last week, but we have to move on and this is another crucial game for us. Our focus all week has been to see if we can get the three points, and we believe we can.”
He acknowledged that Pat’s are a tough football team to play against when he said:
“Pat’s were champions last year; we drew with them on the opening day and lost to a last minute goal up there in May, so we know how difficult it will be. They are a very strong team, they play great passing football, but I hope that we can give another high energy performance.”
Caulfield has a bit of an injury headache to deal with at the moment with Michael Rafter, Brian Lenihan, Rob Lehane and Darren Murphy all ruled out with injury while Gavin Kavanagh is a doubt due to a knock picked up this week. Things don’t get better for City with Darren Dennehy and Gary Buckley both ruled out with suspension.
St Pat’s come into this game on the back of a 1-0 victory over Sligo Rovers last week and Liam Buckley is aware of the challenge that his side will face in Cork.
“We know that Friday night will be a difficult game – all the games between ourselves and Cork this season and in past seasons have always been really tight and entertaining.”
Yet Buckley is looking forward to his side playing in the Cross:
“Turner’s Cross is a great venue to play football though, as the pitch there is always in great condition and the crowd always get behind the home team and make some noise. So it’s a game that we look forward to as we know that the performance levels have to be right up there on the night to get a result.”
Buckley has to pick a team tomorrow night minus a few players as well with Ken Oman a doubt with a calf strain and both Seán Hoare and Chris Forrester ruled out to suspension.
It should be a cracking game at The Cross.
Stephen Walsh, Pundit Arena.