Dunne urges injury-hit Cork to 'keep tie alive' in Tallaght
CORK CITY have an injury crisis ahead of tonight's Setanta Cup semi-final first leg with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght.
The Leesiders, who came within seconds of victory at the venue in the league a fortnight ago, have concerns over a number of first-team players.
Kevin Murray and Dan Murray are definitely out, while Danny Murphy, Shane Duggan and Colin Healy all shipped heavy knocks in Saturday's defeat to Sligo Rovers.
Neal Horgan should be okay after making the bench for that game, but the suspension of key midfielder Gearoid Morrissey is a major loss that makes Duggan and Healy's recovery essential to Cork's prospects.
"The most important thing for us is to keep the tie alive and bring it back to Turner's Cross next week," said City boss Thomas Dunne.
They will encounter a Hoops side who finally hit their stride on Friday by knocking seven goals past unfortunate Bray Wanderers. Trevor Croly has a strong squad available, despite David Elebert and Tommy Stewart remaining out through illness.
"We were excellent on Friday but we realise that we need to be performing like this on a consistent basis for it to mean anything," said Croly.
The other semi-final in the cross-border competition brings together last season's title rivals Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United.
Drogheda have home advantage as they look to end Sligo's 100pc start to the new campaign. Manager Mick Cooke was heartened by his side's late comeback to beat Shels last Friday.
"Fitness level was one of our strengths last year and we have been training very hard this year and it's something we are working on a lot," he said. Gary O'Neill is a doubt for the hosts. Sligo have welcomed Joseph Ndo back to full training, but Danny North, Seamus Conneely and Ciaran Kelly are still on the sidelines.
"We've talked about the performance against Cork City where we were not at our best," said Ian Baraclough of Saturday's 2-0 win.
"I don't think it was a game to dwell too much on, we came away with three points and now we have a semi-final to look forward to. We will try to produce a more complete display in Drogheda."
Setanta Cup semi-final first legs
Shamrock Rovers v Cork City, Tallaght, 7.30 (Live, Setanta Ireland).
Drogheda United v Sligo Rovers, Hunky Dorys Park, 7.45.