Cup holders entertain in-form Longford

Updated: Monday, 20 May 2013 11:11

There are seven games in the Second Round of the EA SPORTS Cup this evening as holders Drogheda United take on First Division pacesetters Longford Town, as they begin the defence of the trophy they won last September when they beat Shamrock Rovers 3-1 in the final.

Rovers gained revenge for that defeat last week when they beat Drogheda 7-1 in the Setanta Sports Cup Final but Mick Cooke has been pleased with the response of his side since then.

“Our last two performances since the Setanta Sports Cup final have been excellent. We have bounced back as I knew we were capable of doing and if we continue on in that vein tomorrow, I would be confident of getting a result,” said Cooke.

There is another fascinating clash at Finn Park where Finn Harps, who are second in the First Division, host Derry City, who are currently third in the Premier Division, one point behind leaders Sligo Rovers and second place St Patrick’s Athletic.

Harps have beaten the top two in the First Division – Longford Town and Mervue United – in recent weeks and manager Peter Hutton is relishing the prospect of taking on the FAI Ford Cup holders in Ballybofey.

“Monday’s game will be an extremely tough game with them flying high in the Premier Division and on the back of a great result away to Drogheda. However the First Division itself is a very tough league and there are no easy games so we will continue to look forward to the next challenge and hope to give a good account of ourselves,“ said Hutton.

“We will go out to win the game no doubt and will field a team I feel capable of getting us a result but we also have to balance the long journey coming on Friday away to Wexford and those struggling with injuries from Mervue.”

League champions Sligo Rovers will be well rested ahead of the visit of Mervue United to the Showgrounds after their game with Dundalk on Saturday night was called off due to a waterlogged pitch but it means that Gavin Peers and David Cawley, who were due to miss that game through suspension, must now serve their bans in the cup game.

"We were in Finn Park on Friday night to watch Mervue United against Finn Harps and look at the challenge that they will pose us,” said Sligo boss Ian Baraclough.

“They will come to Sligo feeling they have nothing to lose and it is up to us to go and win the tie. The players will be itching for a game after the cancelled fixture and we hope to see that in the performance."

Following the resignation of manager Paul O’Brien, Waterford United face a daunting trip to Thomond Park to face Limerick but they will be consoled the fact that the last time the Blues lost a manager in mid-season they responded with a resounding Cup win in their very next game, 3-0 at home against New Ross Celtic in the FAI Cup which, ironically, was Paul O'Brien's first game in charge.

The cup competitions represent Limerick’s best opportunity of winning silverware this season and that’s something boss Stuart Taylor is well aware of.

“Waterford United are a good side, it’s a cup competition so we want to do well and it’s a local derby so it adds something extra to the match for us and our excellent home support,” said Taylor.

Cork City will be hoping to put their recent poor run behind them when they travel to Ferrycarrig Park to face Wexford Youths who have won three of their last four league games while, Salthill Devon, the only team in the Airtricity League side without a win this season, face an uphill task at home to high-flying St Patrick’s Athletic.

Only two points separate Bohemians and Bray Wanderers on the Premier Division table so their meeting at Dalymount Park could be one of the most keenly contested fixtures as the evening particularly as they come into the game on the back of morale boosting results on Friday night when Bohs held Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium and Bray scored their first win in 26 years in Cork.

EA SPORTS Cup Second Round
Limerick v Waterford United, Thomond Park, 7.45pm
Wexford Youths v Cork City, Ferrycarrig Park, 7.45pm
Finn Harps v Derry City, Finn Park, 7.45pm
Sligo Rovers v Mervue United, The Showgrounds, 7.45pm
Bohemians v Bray Wanderers, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Salthill Devon v St. Patrick's Athletic, Drom Soccer Park, 7.45pm
Drogheda United v Longford Town, Hunky Dorys Park, 7.45pm