League Preview: Cork City -v- Shamrock Rovers

Sat, Sep 12 2020

Tempers flared when the sides last met in the league in February after Deshane Dalling saw red for a mistimed tackle. Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

CORK CITY

Cork City can move out of the relegation play-off spot, for a couple of hours at least, with victory over Shamrock Rovers on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2pm).

That will be easier said than done, however, considering the Leesiders have won just twice this season and were beaten 5-0 by the Hoops in Tallaght earlier in the season.

Last week showed positive signs of encouragement, however, as the Rebel Army secured a point away from home against Shelbourne.

Deshane Dalling’s remarkable second-half equaliser earned Neale Fenn’s side the draw after Dayle Rooney had fired Shels into an early lead.

A harder task awaits in the form of Rovers, who are unbeaten this season and will go eight points clear at the top with victory at Turner’s Cross.

“It’ll be a tough game. We’ve got to play without fear, and not be too worried about them,” Fenn said at his weekly press conference.

“We just need to concentrate on how we’re going to play and how we’re going to set up.

“We’ve set ourselves a target of how many points we want to get from the remaining games, so we’re focusing on that at the minute.

“I think momentum-wise, a draw against Rovers would be good result, in terms of going to play Dundalk with a bit of confidence.

“Would I take a draw now? Probably not. We want to go out and win the game.”

Alan Bennett joined fellow defenders Josh Honohan, Joseph Olowu and Uniss Kargbo on the injured list this week, while Ricardo Dinanga faces a late fitness test.

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Shamrock Rovers arrive at Turner’s Cross in confident mood after arresting a run of two league games without a win at home to Bohemians last week.

An early goal from Danny Lafferty, his third in a week, was enough to see the Hoops move five points clear of second-placed Bohs.

“Everyone was feeling good and there was obviously a good atmosphere in the dressing room afterwards,” said manager Stephen Bradley.

“It’s always nice to win games and to win Dublin derbies is extra special so everyone was in a good mood.”

Lafferty scored his first two Rovers goals two weeks ago in a 2-1 FAI Cup victory over Cork City in Tallaght.

City are a sterner prospect at home, however, and Bradley is keenly aware that they’re fighting for their Premier Division survival.

“[It’s] similar to before we played them in Tallaght when we said they’re a dangerous team to play, with some dangerous players. I don’t see that changing.

“It’s going to be a difficult game but one that we’re ready for. We’re full of confidence and we’ll look to go down there and impose our game and try and get three points.”

Sean Kavanagh and Greg Bolger remain sidelined with injury but Kavanagh has returned to light training.

Referee: Ray Matthews

MATCH STATS

The sides have met two times already this season, both in Tallaght, in the league and in the FAI Cup.

Graham Burke scored a record five goals in a 6-0 win early in the season, with Jack Byrne also on the scoresheet as Deshane Dalling was sent off.

It was a tighter affair in the cup earlier this month as Danny Lafferty scored twice, either side of a Gearoid Morrissey equaliser, to see the Hoops through to round three.

BETTING

Cork City 10/1; Draw 7/2; Shamrock Rovers 1/4.

PREDICTION

Cork City 0 – 2 Shamrock Rovers

Cork City

Injured: Alan Bennett, Josh Honohan, Joseph Olowu, Uniss Kargbo.

Doubtful: Ricardo Dinanga.

Suspended: None.

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Greg Bolger, Sean Kavanagh.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.