Saturday 20 January 2018

Hoare targets cup joy for Dundalk after spoiling Cork party

Pictured at the launch of FIFA 18 Club packs at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin is Sean Hoare of Dundalk. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Pictured at the launch of FIFA 18 Club packs at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin is Sean Hoare of Dundalk. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk defender Sean Hoare has admitted that ruining Cork's title party on Monday was a satisfactory outcome even though they had travelled south with different ambitions.

But he accepts that the outcome of Dundalk's FAI Cup campaign will likely determine if they have any reason to celebrate their season come November.

Cork were minutes away from being officially confirmed as champions at Turner's Cross before Robbie Benson's leveller grabbed a point for the visitors.

They needed a win to have any hope of winning a fourth title in a row - although their boss Stephen Kenny says that ship had sailed regardless of Monday's result - but Hoare says that the next best thing was stopping Cork from getting the satisfaction of sealing the deal against their rivals.

However, Dundalk minds will now have to turn towards Sunday's FAI Cup semi-final with Shamrock Rovers which is make or break in the context of what is left of this campaign.

"It was good to spoil the party and not have them celebrating in front of us but we really needed a win to make them stumble a bit more," said Hoare, one of the new faces in Kenny's dressing room.

"It would have been a horrible feeling for them to be parading in our face."

Victory against Rovers could set up a third cup final in a row between Dundalk and Cork although the latter have to get past a Limerick side that registered a league win over them in Market's Field last Friday. They meet at Turner's Cross tomorrow.

Before the Aviva showpiece became a vehicle for Dundalk and Cork to settle end-of-season scores, other teams enjoyed a taste of the big day too and Hoare was part of the St Pat's side that ended that club's long wait for glory in 2014.

Therefore, he knows what is at stake when Rovers arrive on Sunday in an attempt to avenge their defeat in the EA Sports Cup decider earlier this month. "It's a brilliant day and you can't replicate it ever," says the centre-half, who was speaking at the launch of the FIFA 18 SSE Airtricity League Club Pack.

"To get to the Aviva and play in front of such a crowd and a stage, it's brilliant.

"In the early rounds, you might not be playing the highest profile of teams and then all of a sudden it's the semi-finals and there's a big carrot dangling in front of you. It's taken very seriously.

"We won the League Cup obviously but the FAI Cup is the one that everyone wants to win. People were writing us off when Cork created the gap, saying we're not as good as last year, but to complete a cup double would be seen as a memorable season."

Hoare will compete with Brian Gartland for a starting place on Sunday with Dane Niclas Vemmelund set to come in after serving a suspension.

π Wexford FC have admitted they fielded an ineligible player in last Friday's First Division 1-1 draw with Shelbourne. Shels have been awarded the three points after they drafted U17 goalkeeper Colum Feeney, who wasn't properly registered.

Irish Independent

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