Tuesday 20 March 2018


ST Pat's Ath v Shamrock Rovers

Richmond Park (7.45)

Odds: St Patrick's Athletic 8/5, Shamrock Rovers 7/4, Draw 21/10

Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)

Team news: Greg Bolger is suspended for St Pat's while Ger O'Brien is injured.

Talking point: Easily the game of the weekend and a match that could also prove to be the pivotal moment of the season for both teams. Given Dundalk's runaway lead at the top of the league, the Cup offers these sides the best chance of a success story this year and Rovers, you suspect, are better placed, having stayed unbeaten this season in 17 league and cup games. Scoring goals has been a problem. Keeping them out, however, has not been. Just five teams have managed to score against them this year. Twelve clean sheets tells you everything you need to know about their defence. Pat's possess the creativity to trouble any team but their only win in their last four games came via a penalty shoot-out. Whoever emerges through this tie can consider themselves worthy contenders. A replay may be required before we know who that is, though.

Verdict: Draw

Bohemians v Firhouse Clover

Dalymount Park (7.45)

Odds: Bohemians 1/14, Firhouse Clover 25/1, Draw 8/1

Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin)

Team news: Derek Pender is due to undergo surgery next week to deal with an Achilles injury, while Dave Mulcahy (hamstring), Anto Murphy (ankle) and Paddy Kavanagh (knee) are also injured. On a brighter note for Bohs, Dean Delany returns from suspension.

Talking point: Leinster Senior League side Firhouse reached the semi-finals of the Intermediate Cup but, despite those impressive credentials, will find Bohemians too tough a test.

Verdict: Home win

Bray Wanderers v Limerick

Carlisle Grounds (7.45)

Odds: Bray Wanderers Evens, Limerick 11/4, Draw 11/5

Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford)

Team news: Limerick's Seán Harding (ankle) is ruled out once again while midfielder Jason Hughes (ankle) and striker Vinny Faherty (foot) are also doubtful.

Talking point: Bray's resurgence under Trevor Croly has been impressive but they still have serious issues to address. Both their finishing and fitness needs to improve. So, for that matter, do Limerick's. They have yet to win this season and aren't fancied to get much joy out of this visit.

Verdict: Home win

Drogheda United v Cabinteely

United Park (7.45)

Odds: Drogheda United 1/5, Cabinteely 14/1, Draw 9/2

Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin)

Team news: Drogheda have Shane Dunne and Daryl Kavanagh suspended.

Talking point: Despite their league struggles, Drogheda, believe it or not, are capable of launching a sustained Cup run, providing they can get their best players out onto the park. Cabinteely have punched above their weight this season. Their tigerish defender, Aaron Brilly, is an excellent player.

Verdict: Home win

Dundalk v Shelbourne

Oriel Park (7.45)

Odds: Dundalk 1/10, Shelbourne 18/1, Draw 15/2

Referee: David McKeon (Dublin)

Team news: Shelbourne are missing Simon Dixon, Jack Brady, Dave Ryan and Conor Earley. Dylan McGlade is a further doubt.

Talking point: Dundalk remain unbeaten and - to all intents and purposes - appear unbeatable in a domestic setting. Shelbourne have talent in their ranks. But Dundalk have more, a lot more.

Verdict: Home win

Galway UTd v North End United

Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45)

Odds: Galway United 1/6, North End United 12/1, Draw 11/2

Referee: Robert Hennessey (Limerick)

Team news: Wexford side, North End United, have three players - Gary Dempsey, Robin Dempsey and Paul Murphy - who played professionally in England.

Talking point: Galway have surprised many with their have-a-go approach this season. Deservedly clear of the relegation zone, they are capable of travelling deep in this competition if the draw remains kind.

Verdict: Home win

Wexford Youths v Cork City

Ferrycarrig Park (8.0)

Odds: Wexford Youths 7/1, Cork City 4/9, Draw 11/4

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)

Team news: Cork's John Dunleavy, Kieran Djilali and Danny Morrissey are all ruled out with injury.

Talking point: Cork's manager John Caulfield plans to prioritise the Cup this year. "We know it will be a difficult tie, so we won't be taking any chances," said Caulfield. "If we have ambitions of going further in this competition, we need to go to Wexford and get a result. We are confident we can do that."

Verdict: Away win

Tolka Rovers v Waterford UTd

Frank Cooke Park (7.45)

Odds: Tolka Rovers 8/1, Waterford United 1/3, Draw 7/2

Referee: Michael O'Connor

Talking point: The Dublin club lost to Crumlin in the Intermediate Cup final and face a formidable task tonight against Roddy Collins' team.

Verdict: Away win

Longford Town v Finn Harps

City Calling Stadium (8.0)

Odds: Longford Town 8/15, Finn Harps 5/1, Draw 11/4

Referee: Robert Rogers (Dublin)

Team news: Longford's manager Tony Cousins serves a touchline ban.

Talking point: Fifteen years ago these teams played out a 2-2 cracker at the same stage of the competition before Harps won the replay 7-1. Kevin McHugh scored that night and is still there, as dangerous as ever.

Verdict: Home win

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport