The FAI Cup reaches the last-16 stage, with First Division and non-league sides searching for upset victories once again thanks to the outcome of the draw.

There was one all-Premier Division tie in the first round and this stage has also thrown up just a single fixture between top flight teams with five matches down for decision on Friday.

That all-Premier Division game is Drogheda United against Shamrock Rovers on Sunday, with the Hoops aiming to recover from Thursday's Europa League game to be ready for a potential banana skin.

Three Premier side fell at the first hurdle. Finn Harps were ousted by Bohemians, while St Patrick's Athletic and Sligo Rovers were shocked by Waterford and Wexford respectively.

It leaves the top three in the league looking to make it through to the quarter-finals, as well as some sides who could see the Cup become their focus of the season.

Derry City, likely out of the race for the league, face a Cork City side nearing promotion and one which will fancy their chances of an extended run.

Cobh Ramblers fans enjoyed a dig at Cork City in the last round, but the Rebels prevailed on the pitch

It's undoubtedly a banana skin for Derry as two of the biggest clubs in the country clash, even if they are temporarily in different divisions.

Candystripes boss Ruaidhri Higgins said: "Obviously I have fond memories of both of those cup wins and like everyone else we're keen to do well in this competition.

"There’s a huge prize on offer in this game - a win would leave us two matches away from a cup final and we will do everything we can to make sure we’re still in the hat for the quarter-finals.

"It’s a very tough draw for us. Cork have been excellent this year and if you look at their away form - 11 wins and two draws in 13 matches - you’ll see why we have to be on our game if we want to win.

"We’ve been playing well too, despite maybe not always getting the results I feel we’ve deserved in recent weeks.

"It’s a home game for us so it’s important that we look to be positive from the start and if we do that, and play to our potential, we give ourselves a great chance of going through."

Dundalk are looking to repeat their win from 2020

Dundalk also face a second tier side on the rise. Wexford deservedly beat Sligo in the last round, and will welcome their biggest crowd in some time to Ferrycarrig Park.

A depleted Lilywhites, hit by injuries, will be keen to settle well and impose themselves on the game.
Ian Ryan has put Youths in contention for a play-off position off a low budget and they could give Stephen O'Donnell's side a tricky night.

That is something the Dundalk boss is all too aware of.

He said: "I watched them against Longford Town last Saturday. They're a good footballing side and they try and play and build out from the back.

"If we let them, they’ll have good passages and get into dangerous areas so we will have to be on our mettle. If you look at their results in the First Division, they have done well against the top teams and they also beat Sligo Rovers away in the last round of the cup.

"They have a good mix of young players and lads who have played in the Premier Division over the years like Danny Corcoran, Aaron Dobbs, Joe Manley and personnel like that. They have good players and if you give them time, they will hurt you. We just have to focus on our game and play with the intensity we want to play.

"Everyone has been in that position where you play a game that can be seen as a shot to nothing. We just have to go and bring our game and be hungry. We're three games away from getting to the final at the Aviva Stadium and we want that to be down to two when the final whistle blows on Friday night."

Galway United eased passed Bluebell for the biggest Cup win in their history

Galway United and UCD could yet meet at the end of the season in a play-off fixture, but tonight the Cup is on the agenda.

United look like coming up short in the automatic promotion battle, while College would certainly take a play-off game now having fallen back to the bottom of the Premier Division.

Bohemians and Shelbourne are clear of the relegation places but not quite in the European mix so the Cup represents a massive opportunity.

Bohs face Leinster Senior League side Lucan United with the change taking place in the Gyspies home of Dalymount Park despite being away in the draw.

Shels face a long trip north against Bonagee United in the biggest day of the Donegal's club history.

The Dublin Premier Division sides should continue the dominance of LOI clubs against non-league outfits and set up quarter-finals.

A minute's applause will be held at every game in honour of former FAI president and honorary secretary Des Casey who died earlier this week.

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