League Preview: Shelbourne -v- Cork City

Sat, Sep 05 2020

Cork City captain GearĂ³id Morrissey evades Sean Quinn and Ryan Brennan of Shelbourne when the sides met at Turner's Cross in February. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

SHELBOURNE

Shelbourne could move as high as third in the Premier Division table should they take three points from bottom-placed Cork City on Saturday evening (kick-off 5pm).

The Reds currently sit ninth in the table but, such is the congestion outside the top two sides, they could go into the European spots with one victory.

To move third would require a winning margin of at least seven goals, so perhaps fourth place is more realistic, where a three-goal win would be enough.

Shelbourne have been far from free-scoring in the league this season, however, with just six goals scored in their nine games to date.

They let loose in the FAI Cup last week, though, putting five past First Division Galway United, who were being managed for the first time by ex-City boss John Caulfield.

Dayle Rooney starred with two top-class finishes, while Ciaran Kilduff, Ryan Brennan and Aaron Dobbs also found the net for Ian Morris’ side.

Shelbourne have not provided any teams news but have a clear slate of suspensions.

CORK CITY

Cork City’s first trip to Tolka Park in seven years comes against the backdrop of the Leesiders slipping back to the bottom of the Premier Division.

A 3-1 defeat a home to Derry City two weeks ago allowed Finn Harps to move above Neale Fenn’s side on goal difference with a win over Waterford.

City sit four points from safety, where Shelbourne, St Patrick’s Athletic and Derry City are all poised, and defeat could see the Rebel Army slip further out of touch.

The table could have made much better reading had City managed to cling onto the half-time lead they held over the Candystripes at Turner’s Cross.

Joseph Olowu’s third-minute goal put City in full control but Kevin O’Connor’s own goal levelled things up early in the second half.

Adam Hamill put the visitors in front shortly afterwards before James Akintunde made certain of the three points in injury time.

More positive was City’s display against league leaders Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup on Monday, where the visitors performed well despite losing out 2-1.

"There are a lot of positives to take from Monday's defeat. A few of the lads played well, and it was a narrow game,” said Fenn.

“We're certainly not going into the game against Shels fearful. We're confident, but we're expecting them to be hard to beat.

“We don't think they'll be too different from what we saw in the first game. They defend very well, as you can see from their last few results.

“Ian Morris has got them really well organised. We're not going into this game worried about Shelbourne.

“We respect them, and we know their strengths, but we think we know where we can exploit them."

Graham Cummins has left the club and both Olowu and Uniss Kargbo miss out with injury, but Fenn is hopeful Cory Galvin, Alec Byrne and Beneoin O’Brien Whitmarsh will be fit.

Referee: Rob Hennessy.

MATCH STATS

The two sides’ meeting on the opening day at Turner’s Cross was the first league game between the sides since Shels were relegated at the end of the 2013 season.

Shels ran out 1-0 winners on the day thanks to a goal three minutes from time courtesy of ex-Cork striker Ciaran Kilduff.

Also among the former City contingent in the Shels squad is double-winning striker Karl Sheppard, while Denzil Fernandes played underage at Turner’s Cross.

On the final day of the 2011 season, Graham Cummins’ dramatic injury-time header at Tolka Park saw City snatch the First Division title from Shelbourne’s grasp.

BETTING

Shelbourne 10/11; Draw 11/5; Cork City 3/1.

PREDICTION

Shelbourne 0 – 0 Cork City

Shelbourne

Injured: Unavailable.

Doubtful: Unavailable.

Suspended: None.

Cork City

Injured: Uniss Kargbo, Joseph Olowu.

Doubtful: Cory Galvin, Alec Byrne, Beneoin O’Brien Whitmarsh.

Suspended: None.