/ Soccer

FAI Cup semi-final previews

Updated: Sunday, 07 Oct 2012 14:02

Shelbourne are looking to contest another FAI Cup final
Shelbourne are looking to contest another FAI Cup final

DERRY CITY v SHELBOURNE, 1.45pm

Derry City will be without the services of Conor Murphy who is cup-tied.

Manager Declan Devine is relishing the opportunity to reach the decider on 4 November. "It is obviously the biggest game of our season, we would like to be the first Derry City team to go to the new Aviva Stadium and we are 90 minutes away from doing that,"

"We really need it to be honest, we want people to get behind the players and help us to get to the final. For us to achieve what we want, we need a full house and make the Brandywell a very difficult venue for Shelbourne and also make it a hostile atmosphere for them.

"I feel that the team who defends best on the day will win the match."The reality is they have scored two goals against us and won two matches and we have scored two goals against them and won the last game, so it has been very, very tight and there isn't much between the sides.

"If you don't give anything away I think you'll give yourself an opportunity to win the game and I think when it comes down to it on Sunday, the team that settles the best and gives a good account of themselves will win the tie."

Shelbourne will attempt to qualify for the final for the second time in two seasons, having lost out to Sligo Rovers at the Aviva last November.

In the three games played between the two sides in the league this season, Shelbourne have won twice – in Tolka Park in March (1-0) and in the Brandywell in June (0-1) with the goal scored in each case by Philly Hughes.

The Candystripes won the last match, however, in Tolka Park in August 2-0 with goals by David McDaid and Stephen McLaughlin.

Shelbourne manager Alan Mathews said: “We’re looking forward to the game on Sunday. We were able to bring in the players who had been injured and give them a run, over the last two games, against Bray Wanderers and Drogheda United and should have a full squad to choose from.

The players have shown that they are a match for most teams in the league. We kept a clean sheet on Friday and were unlucky not to take at least a point from the game on Monday night, away to second placed Drogheda.”

“We have prepared well and will go into it the game with a positive attitude and with confidence.”

Shelbourne should be at full strength on Sunday, having no injuries to report and no suspensions.

DUNDALK v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC, 3.55pm

Dundalk can welcome back midfielder Mark O’Brien (illness) – whose father, Derek, won the FAI Cup with the club in 1977.

However, they will be without striker Mark Griffin (suspended) and former Monaghan United pair midfielder Stephen Maher and defender Paul Whelan are cup-tied.

Young midfielder Garreth Brady (ankle) also continues on the sidelines.

Caretaker manager Darius Kierans said: "It would be a massive achievement for everyone connected with the club to make it to the FAI Cup final.

“It has been a difficult year for everyone both on and off the pitch. But we’re still in there and we’re fighting. We’re in the semi-final of this Cup and we have two more cup finals coming up with the playoff and it’s vital that we all stick together.

“There is a lot of pressure on St. Pat’s because it’s 51 years since they last won the FAI Cup. 

“This year, they have another very good squad and they have players capable of ending that long wait. The onus and the pressure is on them to come and win the game,” added Kierans.

For Pat's, Pat Flynn, James Chambers and Greg Bolger available again after suspension while Christy Fagan is hoping to recover from an ankle problem and John Russell is back in training. Ryan Coombes is unavailable, though, due to his U-19 international call-up.

The Richmond Park side have not won the famous trophy since 1961 a stat that Liam Buckley and his squad would like to put right this year

Buckley reported that the players were in good spirits ahead of the game having recorded an impressive 5-0 victory last Monday night against UCD.

“Training has gone well this week since Monday’s win and all the lads are pushing for a place in the starting line-up against a Dundalk team that will give us a tough game." said the manager.

“Cup semi-finals have a lot at stake, so we’ll being going out there to apply ourselves as best we can and hopefully get the result. Darius Kierans will have them well prepared as well so we know we’ll be up against it on Sunday,”