CORK CITY boss John Caulfield accepts that tonight's FAI Cup tie at home to Bohemians will be the last chance for City fans to see highly-rated Ireland U-21 cap Brian Lenihan in the flesh.
City have agreed a fee, in the region of €200,000, with Championship side Brighton and while the deal has not yet been finalised as the player has to agree personal terms with the Seagulls, Caulfield predicts no hitches and sees the Cup tie as a farewell for the U21 international.
"While we have accepted an offer for Brian, he has yet to discuss personal terms with the club in question and will be available to us tomorrow night. I would hope that the crowd will come out in force to give him a big send-off in what is likely to be his final appearance for the club," says Caulfield.
City have established a reputation in England as a talent pool for players, as ex-City men like Damien Delaney, Shane Long, Kevin Doyle, David Meyler and Alan Bennett have gone on to win senior international caps and play in England after leaving Turner's Cross, while exports such as Roy O'Donovan, Dave Mooney and Kevin Long have also played at a high level in Britain after learning their trade with Cork.
Cork are still on course for a league and Cup double, though their cause will be hampered by the loss of right-back Lenihan, and while the Premier Division is a priority, Caulfield is keen to renew acquaintances with the FAI Cup final.
"Everyone knows that the cup final will be held in the Aviva and we have never been there since it was done up," Caulfield added. "People love a cup final and we have not been at that stage for a long time.
"It is a good opportunity for us to get into the quarter-final, and while it will be a difficult game, everyone enjoys the feeling of still being in the cup as the season progresses; there's a good buzz when you're in the cup and it is a break from the league," he says, wary of a Bohs side who beat Cork 2-0 earlier this month. "On the night, we were beaten fair and square and they gave an outstanding performance."