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'We've nothing to fear from them' - Bohs stand in the way of Cork City and the Premier Division title

Keith Long’s side will look to prevent the Leesiders from clinching the SSE Airtricity League’s top flight at Dalymount Park.

Bohemians midfielder Fuad Sule with Cork City's Gearoid Morrissey back in April.
Bohemians midfielder Fuad Sule with Cork City's Gearoid Morrissey back in April.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FRIDAY COULD BE the night that Cork City finally get over the line and wrap up their first Premier Division title since 2005.

City fans have had to be patient in recent weeks as the Leesiders lost out to Shamrock Rovers and Limerick before drawing 1-1 in their last league outing — at home to three-in-a-row champions Dundalk.

John Caulfield’s men have since secured a place in the FAI Cup final — where they will look to retain their trophy in a replay of last year’s showcase at the Aviva Stadium on 5 November.

With last Saturday’s Derry City game rescheduled to this coming Monday, this evening’s trip to Dalymount Park (7.45pm, live on RTÉ2) to take on Bohemians presents another opportunity to seal the deal.

Two points from their final four matches will be enough to do so, meaning a win here will see Cork crowned champions. Back in July, Bohs handed them a first league defeat of the season — ending a 22-game unbeaten run –  thanks to George Poynton’s second-half penalty at Turner’s Cross..

And the last time these two met in Phibsborough in April, Cork’s Karl Sheppard produced an unstoppable volley that remains ones of the frontrunners Goal of the Season in a 2-0 win for the away side.

“Bohemians were the first team to beat us this season and they have done well against Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers as well,” said City boss John Caulfield. “They have a lot of quality in their team, they are a strong side, always difficult to play against at Dalymount.

“We have got back to the cup final, which is phenomenal, but the league is the one we want. We are down to a situation now where everything is in our own hands and our focus is on Friday night. It will be a difficult game, but we will have another massive following up there and I hope that, after our last two performances, we are back to the intensity we have had for most of the season.

Nothing comes easy, but we are in the driving seat. The most important thing for us, after going through a shaky spell, was to get back to what we are good at and the last couple of performances have shown that. We are happy that we are back to that and hopefully it’s good for the run-in.

“Our support has been magnificent and we will have another phenomenal crowd there on Friday night. I’ve never, in my time, gone to Dalymount Park and got an easy game. Thankfully, in the last few years, we have got a few wins there, but it will be a very tough game.”

Cork are without long-term injuries John Dunleavy and Alex Byrne, while midfielder Conor McCormack will be assessed before kick-off after picking up a knock during the week.

Georgie Paynton scores a penalty Georgie Poynton scoring from the spot at Turner's Cross. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Sixth-place Bohemians, meanwhile, come into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Sligo Rovers after picking up victories over St Patrick’s Athletic and Drogheda United in recent weeks.

Gypsies boss Keith Long has to plan without Lorcan Fitzgerald (knee), Warren O’Hora (hamstring) and Keith Ward (suspended), but Paddy Kavanagh is available again after serving one-match ban.

“It’s a great game to be involved in,” said Long. “There’s a lot of expectation on Cork City, but we’ve shown we can beat them already this season — we were the first team to do so.

“We will have to be at our very best again but we’ve nothing to fear from them. Cork have their job to do, we have ours. Our players have pride in the jersey — pride in playing for Bohs — and will want to win.”

“That’s what players want — to play on big occasions in front of large crowds. Cork have nearly sold out their allocation for the Des Kelly Stand and we hope our fans will do likewise in the Jodi Stand. We would love a full Jodi Stand and our fans behind us like they have been all year.”

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Ben Blake

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