The quarter-finals of the FAI Ford Cup take place over the next four days with some intriguing battles ahead and it all starts with Sporting Fingal against St Patrick’s Athletic.
On Thursday evening, Sporting will welcome St Pat’s to Morton Stadium for what will surely be an explosive encounter.
Liam Buckley’s side remain in the title race for the First Division, but will put all league matters on hold as they take on a team that sits second in the Premier Division and are still involved in the Uefa Cup.
Even though the on-loan duo of John Frost and Brendan Clarke cannot face their parent club and Barry Ferguson is cup-tied, Sporting will fancy their chances of causing an upset.
One of the main advantages that they have is their terrific home form, which midfielder Conan Byrne believes can work in their favour as they plot their passage through to the semi-finals.
“We will give it our all, we’ll all work hard and it’s down to what happens on the day,” said Byrne.
“It’s just 90 minutes of football and we’ll give it our best.
“It’s a nice distraction from the league as well – playing in a cup quarter-final. Some of us have been there before and others haven’t. We are well up for it.”
St Pat’s have an array of injury worries going into the match, which leaves manager John McDonnell with limited options for such a crucial game.
Keith Fahey, Stephen Paisley, Dessie Byrne, John Murphy, and Dave Rogers should all miss out, while centre-back Jason Gavin is cup-tied.
With a lot of games piling up for The Super Saints, they will have to call on players that have not featured as much this season, so Polish midfielder Jaroslaw Bialek could start.
It has been over forty-five years since St Pat’s last lifted the FAI Cup and their fans are eager to end that barren spell as they prepare for this massive quarter-final clash.