Limerick aim for a positive result against unbeaten League leaders.
Limerick FC travel to Cork on Friday evening to take on runaway league leaders Cork City at Turners Cross (kick-off 8pm).
Limerick will not have fond memories of their last league meeting with the Leesiders which ended in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at the Markets Field in March. Goals from Sean Maguire, Garry Buckley and Georoid Morrissey eased City to victory in what proved to be Martin Russell’s last game in charge of the Shannonsiders. Limerick manager Neil McDonald is looking forward to the challenge on Friday night.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game for us to play away from home but certainly we are not going with a defeatist attitude and we will try to upset, create and win the game.”
McDonald continued to praise his players attitude ahead of the Munster derby clash.
“Yeah its been good (the mood in the camp). We have trained really well. We have had a look back on videos too so it hasn’t always been physical preparation, there has been a lot of mental and tactical preparation also.”
The former Blackpool boss insists all the pressure is on Cork ahead of this eagerly anticipated clash.
“I’m looking forward to it. The pressure is all on Cork. When you have won 16 out of your 17 games, you’re expected to win. We will try to surprise Cork on how we try to stop them.
The Englishman has been reminded on several occasions that the game is a Munster derby and he recognises the importance of putting in a good performance.
“Its important that we put in a good performance. If we can get some points it would be fantastic as we would only be the second team to do that.”
McDonald has favoured two formations since joining the Super Blues. He deployed a narrow 4-4-2 in games against Bohemians and Finn Harps before opting for a 3-5-2 formation in the win over Bray Wanderers at the Markets Field in their last outing. He has made no secret that he prefers to play two central strikers which effectively ends the popular 4-3-3 set up Limerick always used under Martin Russell.
There are certainly advantages to the switch. Top goalscorer Rodrigo Tosi is not as isolated as we have seen many times this season. Chiedozie Ogbene appeared to thrive in the position last week as he scored two superb individual goals, although he was helped in no small way by poor defending from Bray’s centre-backs. The Markets Field outfit were certainly more dangerous in the attacking third. However, defensively the team appeared to suffer. Robbie Williams operated at the centre of the back three. His compatriots Tony Whitehead and Dave O’Connor were very uncomfortable being dragged in to wide areas by Dylan Connolly, Aaron Greene and Ryan Brennan on several occasions.
If McDonald chooses to stick with the 3-5-2 formation, the pace that Cork’s trio Stephen Dooley, Karl Sheppard and Sean Maguire possess, could seriously damage Limerick’s chances of earning a result. With Shane Tracy likely to be selected at left-wing back, Cork will certainly look to exploit his lack of match sharpness.
Shaun Kelly and Freddy Hall both left the Bray game due to injury. However, both are expected to be available for selection. However, Tommy Robson may have played his last game for the club as his Limerick stay appears to have been cut short due to injury. John O’Flynn and Barry Cotter are not expected to feature. Captain Shane Duggan featured in the Sporting Limerick Charity Cup against Janesboro on Tuesday night and has recovered from injury.
Cork City manager John Caulfield has warned his side against complacency ahead of the visit of their Munster rivals.
“Limerick have some very good players and they have a very good team. We know on Friday night that Limerick will come down with the belief that they are going to beat us and we have to be on our guard.”
Caulfield believes that if his side can match the performance from the eye catching win over Dundalk a fortnight ago, then they have a great chance of extending their unbeaten run.
“We have to make sure that we can give a performance like the one we put in against Dundalk, and if we can play at that level and intensity, then I will be very happy. If we don’t, or we switch off, then it will be a tricky match for us. It is crucial that we keep the momentum going and that we are prepared for Friday night.”
Cork have injury concerns over star centre-back Ryan Delaney and Steven Beattie ahead of the game. A bumper crowd is expected at Turners Cross.
Referee: Rob Rogers