The title chase at the top of the Premier Division takes a breather this week as the FAI Ford Cup takes centre stage.
The prestigious and historic Cup will see 2010 finalists Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers face each other in the Showgrounds in Sligo on Monday evening. Both the Hoops and the Bit o Red won out in convincing fourth round replays, with Sligo trouncing Monaghan 4-0 and UCD being hit for six by the Tallaght outfit. Aaron Greene is a doubt for Sligo and it is unsure what formation Michael O`Neill will opt for as Shamrock Rovers continue their rotation policy following the 3-0 defeat to Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.
Cork City play host to St Patricks Athletic on Friday evening, with both sides looking for Cup glory as League success seems to be slightly out of reach. St Pat’s will be without duo Shane Guthrie and July signing Sean O’Connor as they are both cup-tied from their involvement with Dundalk and Limerick respectively. Cork also have Daryl Horgan cup tied, and experienced stopper Mark Mc Nulty is an injury doubt. Incidentally, both sides will contest a Cup Final this year regardless of their progression, as Cork entertain Derry City in the League Cup, and Pats will travel to Bohs in the Leinster Senior Cup.
Bohemians are also in action in the cup as they travel to Oriel Park to face Dundalk. Former Bohs boys Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley will be out to halt Bohemians, who last won the cup in 2008. Dundalk interestingly faced Galway in the first hurdle of this year’s cup, and the last time Dundalk won the cup in 2002, they also played Galway in their first round. Dundalk welcome back former UCD midfielder Keith Ward from suspension, but strong doubts remain over the fitness of centre half Colin Hawkins and wide man Ross Gaynor. The Gypsies have two injury threats; both at the back, with Aidan Price and Ollie Cahill in a race again time to feature in Louth.
Shelbourne, who were reinstated at the expense of Sheriff YC, will play host to Limerick in the remaining game. Shels will have the least amount of preparation for the game after being reinstated just this week, though they will hope to make the most of their chance. Both sides seem to have a clean bill of health but the Dublin club have form on their side as they defeated Limerick 3-0 on their last meeting at Jackman Park.