Limerick FC make the short trip to Eamon Deacy Park on Friday night for the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup quarter-final clash with Galway United (kick-off 7.45). A win would mean Limerick FC would appear in their first FAI Cup semi-final since 1994.
The Super Blues arrive in Galway off the back of a bitterly disappointing 0-2 defeat at the hands of relegation rivals Finn Harps last weekend. The trip to Eamon Deacy Park will not bring back good memories for Limerick as they suffered a 3-1 defeat against Galway in the league in July. Garbhan Coughlan scored a consolation goal on the night but he has now departed the club.
There are five points separating the sides in the Airtricity League which means a close contest is certainly expected. With Shamrock Rovers, Cork City and Dundalk all overwhelming favourites to be in the hat for the semi-final draw, this game provides the only 50/50 clash. Galway are slight favourites, but only due to home advantage.
Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald is likely to stick to the narrow 4-4-2 formation despite the defeat to Finn Harps. Captain Shane Duggan was re-introduced to the starting line-up last week and looked full of energy and endeavour in the first half. Lee-J Lynch and Barry Cotter combined well on the right. However, the sending off of Harps defender Killian Cantwell signalled a change. Limerick were unable to move the ball quickly and off the ball movement was lethargic.
The former Blackpool manager will be hoping for a massive improvement from last week’s second half performance. Although Limerick were toothless in attack in the second period, having missed a host of first half chances, two horrendous defensive errors handed the opposition the victory. Concentration levels will need to improve if a positive result is to be achieved on Friday night.
Galway United manager Shane Keegan believes that this game is winnable and can help his side’s bid to avoid relegation in the league.
“It’s not often that you get into a position like this, it’s a quarter-final that’s winnable, a 50/50 game, we have to fully grab the opportunity. While it’s separate to our league campaign, I do think it has an effect. We have two games at home after the Limerick game, I find it hard to believe that if we won and got a home draw in the semi-final, that it wouldn’t give us a massive lift for those games.”
Galway captain Colm Horgan is supremely confident that his team will reach the semi-final.
“We’ve got a great chance now, Limerick are in the same boat as ourselves, they’ll fancy themselves, but I think if we play to our strengths, nullify their threats and execute our game plan properly, we’re looking at a semi-final spot.”
Galway have doubts over the availability of Rory Hale, Eon McCormack and Niall Maher but Shane Keegan is hoping that all three players will be available for selection.
Limerick and Galway have met on two occasions this season. Galway remain unbeaten having defeated Limerick 3-1 at home in July. The Tribesmen also picked up a 1-1 draw at the Markets Field thanks to a stunning strike from midfielder David Cawley.
Galway are hoping to reach their first FAI Cup semi-final in nine years. The club haven’t won the competition for 26 years.
The Shannonsiders haven’t won the FAI Cup in 35 years and are hoping to reach the semi-final stage for the first time in 23 years.
Referee: Ben Connolly