Limerick FC welcome Cork City to the Markets Field for the first of two meetings in a row, as Neil McDonald’s charges look to distance themselves from the pack in what is fast becoming a dogfight for Premier Division survival.
The Super Blues currently sit pretty in seventh place on 32 points, however with five games to go and just three points separating them and eleventh place Galway United, every point will be vital in their battle to avoid the drop.
The visitors are Munster rivals Cork City, who too will be keen to bag all three points knowing a win on Friday night coupled with Dundalk failing to defeat neighbours Drogheda United would see them finally crowned league champions.
McDonald’s charges come into the contest with a mixed bag of form in recent weeks, the highs of FAI Cup victories over Finn Harps and Galway United coming in between lows of some disappointing league performances away to Finn Harps and most recently Bray Wanderers last Friday night.
The Rebels come into Friday night’s key encounter following a comprehensive 4-1 FAI Cup win away to Longford Town, but Limerick fans will take some solace in the their shaky league form in recent weeks which has seen their coronation as champions put on hold; Bohemians, Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers defeating a side which had gone 23 League games undefeated.
However the last two renewals of the Munster Derby have not been a pretty site for Blues fans, their neighbours easily coming out on top 4-1 when the sides last met in Turners Cross back in June, while John Caulfield’s charges accounted for the Super Blues with ease in 3-0 EA Sports Cup and league wins at the Market’s field this season.
The Leesiders have enjoyed the bragging rights overall in recent years, with the Rebels coming out on top 16 times since 2008, while the Super Blues have picked up six in their past 25 meetings.
The visitors will be without the long-term absentees of Johnny Dunleavy and Alec Byrne, while Alan Bennett, Garry Buckley and Steven Beattie all come into the tie with knocks and will be accessed ahead of the game.
The mouthwatering tie kicks off at 7 45pm, with tickets available from McMahon’s Butchers, Athlunkard Street, until 6pm on Friday. Tickets will go on sale at the Stadium at 6.30pm, at which time gates open – early arrival and purchase is advised as delays can be expected at the ticket booths.
Betting Odds: Limerick 17/4; draw 3/1; Cork City 8/13