Shamrock Rovers and Cork City meet at Tallaght Stadium later today as they do battle to see who will be heading to the EA Sports Cup Final.
Rovers, on the back of two straight league defeats to Bohemians and Derry City, will be hoping to put their recent form against Cork behind them. They’ve lost the last four meetings, and haven’t beaten the Leesiders since August 2015.
John Caulfield’s side booked their place in the semi-finals thanks to wins away to Limerick (3-0) and at home to St. Pats (2-0), while Rovers have enjoyed home wins over Bohemians (3-1) and Longford Town (1-0).
Shamrock Rovers Manager Stephen Bradley said, “Cork have won the league and they’re flying on all fronts for silverware. They’ve been the best team in the country this season so we know it’s going to be a really tough game. If we play like we did against Derry for large parts of the game we can cause any team problems. We’ve just got to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch, attacking and defensively.”
On the fact City lost two of their best players recently Bradley said, “Losing Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor, they’re two big players but they have other good players to come in and fill that void. They’ve a good squad so we’ve got to be ready for the best Cork and we will be. We did well against them in Tallaght, if you watch the game back. I thought we were good down in Cork too. They obviously beat us comfortably in the end but Trevor could have made it 2-0 and Davey was sent off and it changed the whole game.”
“We’ve got ourselves in this position now and we’ve got to go and try and get into a final. We have Cork ahead of us but the players are desperate to get into a final and go and win something. As a new group together we need to learn how to win things and win big games and tomorrow is a chance for us to go and do that.”
“Sam Bone, Pico Lopes and Danny Devine are still out and Lee Grace is cup tied. Luke Byrne got a bad knock on Friday but he’s fine.”
Speaking to the media ahead of the game Cork City boss John Caulfield said: “Obviously, we are going to make a number of changes. It is an intense period for us coming off the back of three games in a week and we are going to rotate the squad. The EA Sports Cup is the third national competition and we have always used it to give players game time, which we did in the earlier rounds against Limerick and St. Pat’s and the lads have done great.”
“The lads have been pushing themselves all year; no matter who has gone out on the pitch, with injuries and suspensions, they have all done well. No matter who goes out on the pitch, we are going out to win and everyone is going to give their best.”
“We know it will be a difficult game; Rovers are at home and will see this as an opportunity for them but, at the same time, we have done our work, we know what they are good at and we feel there are areas we can cause them problems.”
Caulfield also gave an update on the injury front, saying: “Conor McCormack is suspended, while Kieran Sadlier will miss out as he is cup tied. We have a few knocks as well; Alan Bennett, Robbie Williams, Steven Beattie and Gearóid Morrissey are all concerns, but we have bodies to come back in as well, like Jimmy Keohane, Greg Bolger, Conor McCarthy, Ryan Delaney, Achille Campion and Sean McLoughlin who could all come in.”
Photo Credit: Shamrock Rovers FC