Sheppard a doubt as old rivals lock horns
Karl Sheppard could miss out on a fiery Oriel Park afternoon tomorrow with the Cork City striker a doubt for the President's Cup (2.0).
The curtain-raiser for the new domestic season brings together Dundalk and Cork, the dominant forces over the past four years whose rivalry reached a new level around their third consecutive FAI Cup final meeting in November.
Sheppard had agreed a pre-contract to join Dundalk from Cork at the end of the season but details filtered out ahead of the Aviva decider. That upset the player, and he was duly persuaded to stay with Cork before a dramatic final which ended with the Leesiders completing the double.
Comments by Cork 'keeper Mark McNulty in the build-up also fuelled a war of words between managers Stephen Kenny and John Caulfield that continued in the aftermath and it's safe to say there is no love lost.
Sheppard is sure to receive a hostile reaction if he is involved, but Cork said yesterday that doubts hang over the participation of the front man as well as new signing Barry McNamee and Steven Beattie. Johnny Dunleavy and Garry Buckley are definitely out of a match which Cork have won for the past two seasons at Turner's Cross.
"Games between the two teams are always very competitive and that makes it an ideal game to have right before the start of the season," said Caulfield.
Dundalk will be without Stephen O'Donnell, John Mountney and the returning Patrick Hoban.