For the first time in their brief League of Ireland history, Pat Devlin’s Green and Whites host Longford Town in an eagerly anticipated Playoff clash at Stradbrook on Friday evening (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
Cabinteely come into Friday’s first-leg against Longford off the back of two successive league victories over Athlone Town and Wexford respectively.
The most recent home win over Terry Butler’s Athlone secured Cabinteely’s spot in the First Division Playoffs – with a dominant first-half display seeing off a lacklustre Co. Westmeath side.
However, manager Devlin has been quick to shift his focus onto the Playoffs since that historic achievement – as he told his club’s media team.
“It’s been a great season – the lads have been fantastic. We were perhaps unfortunate to finish fourth. We could have finished much higher.
“I think we underachieved a little. This gives the players and staff an opportunity to fix that. We played Longford three times this season. We’ve beaten them twice.
“But we wouldn’t underestimate them. There’s not a lot between us, So, it should be a very good game. And an interesting two-legs.
“We know we have a lot of work to do. We know we will have to work very hard over the two games. And hopefully get a little bit of luck along the way.”
The South Dubliners have reported a near fully fit squad to choose from ahead of the visit of Longford Town to Stradbrook.
In the First Division Playoffs for the first time since 2013, Daire Doyle’s Longford make the trip to the capital to face surprise promotion candidates Cabinteely.
Doyle, since taking charge of the club has overseen wins over Wexford and Cobh Ramblers to secure De Town’s spot in the top four – a feat which they were unable to manage last term.
Yet to win in the capital on four attempts in 2019, Longford know that they will face a stern test of their promotion credentials over the two legs against Cabo.
Speaking this week to extratime.ie, Town defender Conor Kenna stressed the importance of his side maintaining their focus in the tie.
“It’s never going to be easy against Cabinteely. They’ve set up well this year and they’ve got a great bunch of lads as well.
“It’s going to be a really tough game – they’ve Rob Manley who has scored a lot of goals as well, but they’ll always give us a good game.
“We’ve struggled against them this year, but we’ve identified where we’ve gone wrong and hopefully, we can put that right on Friday.
“Looking at Friday, with that being the first game – the thing a lot people seem to think is that you’ve got to win the games in the first minute or two,” the 35-year-old added.
“It doesn’t happen that way. It can be lost in the first game alright but it’s more important that we keep our heads and over the two legs we do the job.”
Aodh Dervin makes his return from suspension, although he is rated as doubtful along with the attacking duo of Sam Verdon and Sean Boyd.
Full-backs Shane Elworthy and Anto Breslin are both set to miss out with suspension for the trip to the capital.
Referee: Alan Carey.
Longford Town are yet to beat Cabinteely during the 2019 campaign. Town have drawn once and lost twice against Pat Devlin’s charges this term – with their last two games resulting in defeats versus Cabo.
Rob Manley’s 17 league goals have amounted to 44% of the Green and White’s total league tally for 2019 – also becoming the First Division’s top scorer in the process.
The sides have met on ten occasions previously, with both Cabinteely and Longford winning on four occasions – with two draws in addition to that.
Cabinteely 7/5; Draw 11/5; Longford Town 13/8.
Cabinteely 1 - 1 Longford Town
Doubtful: Sam Verdon, Aodh Dervin, Sean Boyd.
Suspended: Anto Breslin, Shane Elworthy.None
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