3 November 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Cork City and Dundalk will lock horns in the FAI Cup Final for the third year in a row at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
The sides have met four times already this season, with the most recent meeting being a 1-1 draw at Turner’s Cross in late September. Prior to that, City had won three from three, with a 3-0 victory at Oriel Park and 2-1 win at Turner’s Cross in the league, as well as a 3-0 win in the President’s Cup.
City come into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers, on the night they lifted the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy for the third time in the club’s history, while Dundalk rounded off their league campaign with a 4-3 win away to Galway United.
City’s path to the final has seen them record wins against Bray Wanderers (1-0 away), Athlone Town (7-0 at home), Longford Town (4-1 away) and Limerick (1-0 at home). Dundalk’s run to the Aviva has seen them dispose of Derry City (4-0 at home), Crumlin United (3-1 away), Drogheda United (4-0 at home) and Shamrock Rovers (4-2 away after extra time in a replay, following a 1-1 draw at Oriel Park).
Speaking to CorkCityFC.ie ahead of the game, City manager John Caulfield said: “After winning the league, having a cup final to look forward to is a fantastic bonus. Obviously, we won it last year and it was a great kick-start for this season in terms of the confidence it gave us, which led us to a league title. We now have a chance to retain the cup and we are really looking forward to it.”
“The lads are in great spirits and, while we know it will be a very difficult game, our preparations have been excellent, and the lads are really focussed to see can we retain the cup.”
“It is a fantastic day out for our supporters; they had an incredible day last year when we won the cup. The support we have had from the city and county has been incredible all year and now they get to enjoy a great day out at the cup final. That’s something to look forward to for everyone, particularly all the kids and families who will be attending. I would urge our supporters to get into the stadium early, get behind the Women’s team in their cup final, and then create that wonderful atmosphere that they have done all season. They have been our Twelfth Man all year and I am asking them to get right behind us and drive the lads on again, as they have done all season.”
Ryan Delaney and Greg Bolger return from suspension, but long-term absentees Johnny Dunleavy and Alec Byrne are still ruled out. A number of players have suffered with varying knocks, but John Caulfield is hopeful of having a full squad to choose from.
Injury News: Johnny Dunleavy, Alec Byrne
Last meeting (League): Cork City 1-1 Dundalk
Last game: Cork City 1-0 Bray Wanderers
League Form (most recent game first): W L D D D L