Cork City look to make mark of their own against Genk in 'toughest test'
After watching their title rivals Dundalk do the business on Tuesday, Cork City are determined to take the spotlight tonight.
They have a similar mission to their domestic foes as they trail 1-0 from the first leg of their Europa League third round qualifier with Belgian side Genk.
In front of a sold-out Turner's Cross crowd, John Caulfield's side believe they are capable of mounting the comeback that would put them 180 minutes away from the group stage of that competition.
"I watched Dundalk's game and it's brilliant for them and brilliant for the league," said midfielder Greg Bolger, "They're our big rivals and when we go on the pitch, we don't like them but, credit where credit is due, it was a great win.
"This is going to be one of the biggest games in the club's history and we're under no illusions that it'll be our toughest test of the season so far.
"We'll have to be at the level we were at last week and if we're not all giving eight, nine or 10 out of 10, we'll be picked off. But it's exciting and it's a chance to progress."
Cork were excellent in Belgium and squandered opportunities to come away with the vital away goal.
Their profligacy was punished with Jamaican-born whizz kid Leon Bailey scoring the decisive strike for a side that has made huge money by selling rising stars.
Cork kept a clean sheet under pressure to knock out Swedish side Hacken in the previous round and Caulfield is taking heart from evidence that Genk are an inferior outfit on their travels.
"We're still massive underdogs but it'll be a passionate full-house," he said.
"Genk haven't travelled well on lots of occasions and I'm optimistic it could be a memorable night for us.
"We'll have 7,000 supporters but it can sound like more than that. The noise from the fans keeps us going and their players won't be used to the close proximity of the pitch.
"That can have an enormous effect and rattle players. We certainly don't want them to score but, going by the first leg, we feel we'll get chances and cause them problems.
"The noise in the last ten minutes against Hacken was incredible. We know it will be the same again tomorrow night and we have told the lads to embrace that. It is crucial that we are on song and that the crowd are too, because they have a huge role to play.
"But if there's no score an hour into the match it's okay, you're still well into the tie as it's a European game. I congratulate Dundalk. Our league is mocked at times but Tuesday night showed the quality we have."
The challenge for Cork this evening is to show their quality. Caulfield has doubts over the availability of Steven Beattie due to a knock he sustained in the initial meeting.
Cork City v Genk,
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