St Pats, Rovers, Cork and Drogs all in action tonight.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v GLENTORAN (RICHMOND PK, 7.30)
NEW St Patrick’s Athletic signing Killian Brennan can’t wait to begin competitive action with his new club when they take on Glentoran tonight in the Setanta Sports Cup at Richmond Park.
Brennan, who won the competition in 2010 with Bohemians, is hoping to win a second winners medal with Pats following his move from Shamrock Rovers.
"Yeah the lads are all looking forward to it," he said.
"There’s always going to be a little bit of nerves with what is our first game, there a couple of new players coming in like myself, and it will depend on well we gel.
"But everything’s gone well recently so hopefully it goes well on Monday.
"Every team wants to win the Setanta Sports Cup: with the teams from the Irish League playing in the competition as well, everyone wants to stamp their authority on the competition.
"There’s a good rivalry there between the sides from the north and the south and it’s normal that both teams want to have some bragging rights.”
Pats recent record against Glentoran doesn’t read well and despite the fact that they only lie sixth in the Irish League, Saints boss Liam Buckley won’t be treating their threat lightly.
“Glentoran will be a tough test for us as they play some great football at times,” he said.
"They’re sixth at the moment with a game in hand, but they’re definitely up there with the best sides in their league.”
Pats will be without the suspended John Russell while Jake Kelly and Greg Bolger are doubts.
Forecast: Pats win.
CORK CITY v CLIFTONVILLE (TURNER’S CROSS, 7.45)
Cork City boss Tommy Dunne believes his side are facing the best side in the Irish League when they face Cliftonville tonight at Turner’s Cross.
“I have watched Cliftonville a number of times, and they are a very good side. As we know, they are the strongest team in the Irish League and they are a very well-balanced side,” he said.
“They are physically strong throughout the side, they can play, they are very solid at the back and they are scoring plenty of goals too.”
“There is often a lot of talk about the merits of playing away from home in the first leg, but looking at it from where I stand and where the team is at, I think being at home first is not a bad thing.
“If we can play well and keep the tie alive going up to Belfast, then we will be in a good position for the second leg when we will be fitter and have a couple of games under our belts.”
Brian Lenihan remains sidelined by injury, while John Dunleavy has missed a number of days training due to illness and will not feature.
Although he was on the scoresheet, Denis Behan picked up a knock in Saturday’s friendly win over Longford Town and will also miss out.
SHAMROCK ROVERS v COLERAINE (TALLAGHT STADIUM, 7.45)
The most interesting aspect of Shamrock Rovers game with Coleraine may be what starting XI Trevor Croly lines out for his first competitive game in charge.
The Hoops have brought in Sligo Rovers Mark Quigley, Jason McGuinness and Richard Brush as well as James Chambers, Sean O’Connor and Barry Murphy from Dublin rivals St Pats.
Croly is happy with the way preparations have gone for the game but is expecting a difficult game at Tallaght Stadium tonight.
“I’ve seen Coleraine twice now, including their game on Saturday, and they’re a good side,” he said.
“They scored a late goal to win that game which shows they are fit and hungry to get results. It will be a tough game for us, but it’s one we’re very much looking forward to.
“We had a good game on Thursday against Longford. I think you could tell on Thursday night that the players’ minds were very much on this Setanta Cup game.
“Training is all well and good, but it’s all about games and the players are really looking forward to getting back to competitive action.”
Forecast: Rovers win
DROGHEDA UTD v PORTADOWN (HUNKY DORYS PARK, 7.45)
Drogheda United boss Mick Cooke has strengthened his side significantly in the close season and is hoping for a strong run in the competition despite being 16/1 outsiders.
The Drogs, who host Portadown tonight, have signed former UCD pair Graham Rusk and Paul O’Connor, the experienced Gary O’Neill and creative midfielder David Cassidy from Shelbourne.
While Cooke would have liked more time for preparation he is hoping for a bold showing.
“This is my first time in the competition and I'm very much looking forward to it. I was at Portadown's cup game yesterday and they are a very good side. Physically they are a very big side also.
“I would have liked to have one or two more games under our belt, but we've won both our friendlies and kept two clean sheets. Training is very competitive and ultimately everyone is looking forward to getting back to competitive football.
“The Setanta cup is a competition I'll be doing my best to stay in for as long as possible and hopefully we can exit as winners.”