- Saturday October 7th, 2023 @ 9:00
FAI Cup Semi-Final Preview - City V Saints
The Saints face their second trip to Turners Cross in just over a week in the hope of securing a November date at The Aviva Stadium in what will be their 30th FAI Cup semi-final.
Cork City stand in the way of a second FAI Cup final in three years, with kick-off on Sunday at 2.40pm.
The away allocation for this game is completely sold out, with over 1,100 Saints fans having got their tickets to cheer the lads on in another massive Cup tie.
For those who didn't manage to obtain a ticket, the game is being shown live on RTE television and the RTE Player with coverage beginning at 2.30pm, the match will also be shown on LOITV for those outside Ireland.
St Pat's come into this game having beaten the same opposition at the same ground just last Friday.
Mark Doyle's late winner was enough to secure the three points and send all the away supporters back up to Inchicore with a spring in their step.
As the game progressed into the second half, both sides were evenly matched before Cork went down to ten men. John O'Donavan got a second yellow and was sent off on the 60 minute mark for a foul on Jay McClelland.
The moment Jon Daly's men had been waiting for then came in the 76th minute. Jamie Lennon controlled the ball with his chest, took a touch out of his feet and whipped a pinpoint cross to Mark Doyle who powered his header home before wheeling off in celebration towards the away end.
This result leaves Pat's in 3rd place in the league table, one point behind Derry City and six points off Shamrock Rovers, with all sides having four games left to play in the Premier Division.
St Pat's have withheld a very strong domestic record in recent times, with 13 wins, three draws and just three losses in their last 19 games, they'll be hoping to keep that form going on Sunday.
OPPOSITION WATCH & RECENT MEETINGS
Cork City are currently in 9th spot in the Premier Division with 27 points from their 32 games, which is nine points behind 8th placed Sligo Rovers in safety of the play-off place.
The 1-0 home loss to the Saints on Friday was the first game for new manager Richie Holland, while Liam Buckley pivots his focus to the full-time role of Sporting Director.
The Saints have gotten the upper hand of City this season so far, with three wins and one draw in four league games this season.
The 1-0 away win at Turner's Cross was the fourth and final Premier Division meeting between the two teams.
Their previous encounter was a 1-1 draw in Richmond Park in July. Jake Mulraney scored on the brink of half-time from a Chris Forrester assist, before Ruairi Keating scored a 93rd minute equaliser to earn his side a point.
Jon Daly's men first visited Turners Cross this season in May, where they earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory. Conor Carty put his side 1-0 up before two quick-fire goals from Tunde Owolabi and Joe O'Brien Whitmarsh put City 2-1 up.
The Saints got their leveller when Jake Mulraney put the ball in the back of the net before an 80th minute Adam Murphy winner sent the away end wild.
The first game between the two teams this season was a 4-0 win for St. Pat's in Richmond Park in April. Goals from Jake Mulraney, Jay McClelland, Jamie Lennon and Mark Doyle secured the three points for the home side in Inchicore.
2021 FAI Cup Memories
The last time the Saints had success in the FAI Cup is still fresh in the memories of all those in Inchicore with a penalty shootout victory over Bohemians in the Aviva Stadium in November 2021.
The club's run to the Final that year was a special one for sure. The semi-final against Dundalk at Richmond Park was a game that will live long in the memory. A 3-1 victory with goals from Billy King, Matty Smith and Darragh Burns sent Inchicore wild at the prospect of a first FAI Cup victory since 2014.
St Pat's last visit to Cork in the FAI Cup was in the 2021 1/4 final, the game finished 1-1 with Pat's winning it 4-1 via a penalty shootout.
These famous old clubs have meet 124 times in total, with Pat's winning 47, Cork coming out on tip 46 times and 31 ending all square.
JON DALY: "There's excitement within the group"
Saints boss Jon Daly has changed the course of the season for his team. With his side potentially just ninety minutes away from the Aviva showpiece, the Dubliner is keen to maintain that the focus is the same as always from his side:
"We're looking forward to it. It's another big occasion and a big game. It's one we're hoping we can go down, do the business and get through to a final.
The boys always train well and give their all in training. The tempo has been good and they've done what we've asked. You can sense the excitement within the group with the opportunity that's there.
It gives us a look at them (playing Cork just last week) but they'll be saying the same thing. We can only concentrate on ourselves - what we're going to do, how we're going to play and how we're going to approach the game.
All of our cup games have been away which means there's been a lot of travelling up and down the country. It's a lot of expense for the fans. Myself, the staff and the players all appreciate them so if we can reward that with getting to a Cup final that would be fantastic."
REDMOND & LENNON: "It's a great occasion"
Joe Redmond and Jamie Lennon have been two key players in both the run to the FAI Cup semi-final and the uptick in league form.
Captain Redmond was in the Aviva as a fan in 2021 supporting his boyhood club St Pat''s to their fourth FAI Cup victory, while Jamie Lennon played a key part in midfield in the side that won the trophy that day.
Lenny got the all-important assist for Mark Doyle's winner against Cork last week and he recently spoke of his hopes to reach the Aviva once again:
"I think it's gonna be a tough game, every game in the Cup this year has been. All of them have been away games as well with Cork being no different.
They're a threat going forward, Keating is a handful. They defend well and they're dogged in midfield. We've got to find ways around that and be ready for Sunday.
There'' no doubt it's going to be an unbelievable atmosphere. Thankfully we've got quite a big away allocation because we're going to need the fans on Sunday to get behind us from the first minute."
Joe Redmond would love to lead his team out as captain at The Aviva, but he knows there is a big task ahead before he can make that dream become a reality:
"I'm really looking forward to Sunday. It's a great occasion for the club and the fans that are travelling down have shown how they've supported us all year in their numbers.
We knew going down to Cork (last week) how tough of a game it was going to be. Turners Cross is a very tough place to go and it'll be no different on Sunday. We know on Friday we weren't at our best and we'll be looking to put in a better performance on Sunday.
We all want to challenge ourselves by playing against the best players every week. They've got quality all over the pitch. As a team, we have to go out and put in a good team performance.'
Tom Grivosti (knee) and Axel Sjoberg (hamstring) are out while Ryan McLaughlin is still being assessed after a knock.
Sam Curtis is suspended while Jake Mulraney returns from suspension having been sent off against Drogheda United.
The St Pat's away allocation is totally sold out.
The game is being shown live on RTE television and the RTE Player with coverage beginning at 2.30pm, the match will also be shown on LOITV for those outside Ireland.
As always, updates can be found on the Official St Pat's FC App - available now on both the App Store and Play Store.
Updates will also be available across all the club's social media channels.
Image Credit: Sportsfile