SHELBOURNE boss Alan Mathews has warned his players that they still have a lot of work to do before they can secure a place in the FAI Cup final for the second year running.
Shels and Derry City must meet again in a semi-final replay at Tolka Park on Wednesday night after a 1-1 draw in Derry yesterday. The Reds had held the advantage thanks to an early opening goal from David Cassidy, but the Dublin side seemed to back off after going in front and allowed City into the game to the extent that they equalised through David McDaid.
With home advantage on their side and the fact that Derry will be playing their third game in eight days Shels appear to be favourites. But Mathews has told his squad not to take a place in the final for granted.
"We were in the same position last year where we played St Pat's at Tolka Park on the Friday and everybody said the same thing, that the initiative would swing to Pat's," says Mathews.
"But we went to Richmond Park for the replay and won 3-1. So that all goes out the window -- it's a cup game.
"Derry beat us in Tolka Park a couple of weeks ago and they will fancy their chances of coming to play here at Tolka and getting a result," Mathews added.
Derry manager Declan Devine took a massive gamble by starting Stephen McLaughlin and Rory Patterson in place of Barry McNamee and Ruaidhri Higgins.
The returning duo were still finding their feet when the visitors took the lead on five minutes thanks to skipper Cassidy, who picked up a loose ball and raced clear of the City defence before lifting his shot over 'keeper Gerard Doherty.
Derry drew level eight minutes later, courtesy of McDaid's 16th goal of the season. A teasing cross by McLaughlin allowed the unmarked striker to head home at the back post.
Derry boss Declan Devine said: "We are under no illusions as going to Tolka Park at any time is difficult. But I think we'll gain confidence out of this game.
"The reality is that we are still in the cup, so we'll go down there and have a good crack at it."