Limerick face tough challenge against joint leaders Cork City on Saturday

Limerick FC continue their league campaign with the un-enviable task of attempting to inflict a second defeat on Cork City in the space of five days at Turners Cross on Saturday (kick-off 2pm). Limerick’s last victory at Turners Cross came in a 2-3 win on the 14th of August 2015.

Limerick suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Derry City on Monday night as a goal from Rory Patterson and a brace from Aaron McEeneff ensured the victory for the Candystripes. The Super Blues were very competitive in the first period and should have taken an early lead through captain Shane Duggan but the experienced midfielder failed to hit the target having been set up by Karl O’Sullivan who impressed upon his first start of the season.

Despite the visitors dominating large periods of the second half, Limerick striker Mark O’Sullivan missed a glorious opportunity to make it 1-1 with fifteen minutes remaining after good work by Danny Morrissey. The result leaves Tommy Barrett’s side in ninth position, occupying the promotion/relegation playoff place.

Winger Karl O’Sullivan impressed on the night but speaking to the club’s official website ahead of the Cork City game, Tommy Barrett feels it will be difficult to play O’Sullivan from the start against the reigning champions.

“It will be a difficult one. It will be a different challenge for those boys against Cork. They are a much more physical side. We will have to have a look at it but he wont be training all week which is a problem.”

Barrett is referring to the fact that O’Sullivan is unavailable to train currently due to the leaving certificate exams. Barrett feels that his side can expect a backlash from Cork following their 3-0 defeat against Shamrock Rovers.

“They are going to look to bounce back. I can’t believe the criticism John Caulfield is getting in some quarters. It’s absolutely ridiculous. If he’s getting criticised then there is no hope for any of us. I don’t know what people expect.”

On the injury front, Barrett is confident that Darren Dennehy will be available for selection but expets the game to come too soon for Daniel Kearns and Conor Ellis. Cian Coleman and Billy Dennehy return from suspension to feature in Cork. Barrett also hinted that Mark O’Sullivan will start up front for Limerick to add a physical threat to the attack.

Cork suffered a surprise 3-0 reverse against struggling Shamrock Rovers on Monday night to allow Dundalk take top spot on goal difference. It was the Rebels third loss of the campaign which have all occurred away from home. They possess a 100% record at Turners Cross with six wins from six so far.

Manager John Caulfield feels his side need to be fully motivated for the game on Saturday and cited the presence of a large contingent of ex-Cork players in the Limerick squad as a reason for the requirement of an accomplished performance. Speaking to the club’s official website ahead of the game, Caulfield stated:

“We need to be ready on Saturday, because Limerick are a tough team. They have a lot ex-City players there; they played really well against us at the Market’s Field in a one-all draw and we know we will need to play very well.”

Despite the threat posed by the Shannonsiders, the Cork boss feels his side will emerge victorious if they bring the right intensity levels to the game.

“Limerick have had some very good away results, winning in Sligo and drawing away to Rovers. Coming to us, they know they can sit back and play on the counter, so we have to be at our game and, ultimately, it is all about us and making sure we are at the right intensity levels.”

John Dunleavy is still recovering from a long-term injury suffered against Limerick last season. Shane Griffin, Conor McCormack and Georoid Morrissey are all doubts ahead of the second Munster derby clash of the season.

Meetings so far: Limerick and Cork drew 1-1 at the Markets Field in March. The home side took the lead through a superb solo goal from former Cork winger Billy Dennehy. However, the lead was short lived as Kieran Sadlier equalised.

Referee: Tomas Connolly

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