Murray targeting Cup to save Cork's season
The events of Monday night have bumped up the significance of tonight's FAI Cup meeting of Cork City and St Patrick's Athletic from tie of the round to the most important domestic game of their respective seasons.
Cork's humbling defeat in Tallaght combined with a drubbing for the Saints in Dundalk means that the Louth men are well on their way to retaining the title. Therefore, progression in the cup now means everything for two teams who have effectively conceded defeat as regards their league ambitions.
"Everyone looks at going as far as they can in the two main ones, the league and the FAI Cup," admitted Cork stalwart Dan Murray, who clearly doesn't feel that the Saints' success or otherwise in the EA Sports Cup final will matter that much come the end of term. To be fair, the accountants in Inchicore would likely agree.
Liam Buckley's side travel south as the holders of a trophy that had eluded them for so long. There's a different kind of pressure attached this year.
For Cork, staying in the competition is vital. John Caulfield's arrival galvanised the Leesiders and he set the bar high by coming within one game of the championship in his debut year in the dugout.
If they are unable to improve on that placing, which seems likely, then the cup could make or break the perception of their 2015 endeavours.
Murray, who was part of the Cork side which won this competition in 2007, knows that medals are what counts.
"You can talk about finishing second but it's not really remembered who finished second over the course of the years," says the 33-year-old, matter of factly.
"It all comes down to how many trophies you have. When John came in, the goal was to win trophies again. We believe Cork teams should win trophies on a regular basis and we put a marker down last season that we were wanting to stick around and challenge for all the trophies.
"We're a good bit behind in the league now - we're ten behind so it looks like Dundalk would have to lose four of their last nine games and it doesn't look like they will lose any - so it probably does take a bit of added importance that it might not have done if we'd won the last two games in the league."
Murray feels that the change in emphasis to a cup encounter might help Cork to mentally prepare after scarring defeats. Conceding three at home to Limerick seven days ago was a real shock to the system that arguably carried over into the Dublin loss.
"It will be good to play in a different tournament, a different type of pressure and against a good team," he continued. "Hopefully that will turn things as quickly as possible.
"The bouncebackability cliché comes out for both teams. We haven't started the last two games as well as we wanted so that'll be the plan. They'll be thinking the same - it will be two teams going for it so it should be decent."
Elsewhere, Dundalk return to Galway seeking revenge for their penalty shoot-out defeat in the EA Sports Cup semi. Stephen Kenny should field a stronger side this time around, while Galway have been affected by injuries.
Midfielder Ronan Finn is certainly eyeing up a run to the Aviva. "The FAI Cup is massive," he asserted. "I haven't won it yet and a few of the lads haven't won it either so we see that as a realistic target for us.
"We will treat Galway United with respect. We have had difficult games against them this season and lost on penalties a few weeks ago so we know how tough it will be."
Cork City v St Patrick's Athletic,
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