TONIGHT Neale Fenn and his Cork City side will host his former club Longford Town at Turner's Cross in the First round of the FAI cup.
The last time these sides met in this competition was back in 2018 in the quarter-final when City won 7-0 with Kieran Sadlier scoring a hat-trick while Gearoid Morriseey, Ronan Coughlan, Josh O’Hanlon and Barry McNamee added a goal a piece. Fenn was manager of Longford at the time.
Two years on, and tonight’s City starting 11 will certainly look a completely new Cork City side. Only two starters from that side, two years ago Gearoid Morrissey and Alan Bennett are possible starters for tonight’s clash while Mark McNulty and Graham Cummins were among the substitutes back in 2018 who could also feature tonight.
Dylan McGlade was a substitute for Longford in that game and tonight he faces his former club with what he hopes will be a victory for City to gain some confidence for the remainder of the season.
One thing for sure is that it’s difficult to see a repeat of that scoreline in tonight’s game. It’s no surprise to anyone that City are struggling at the moment and are in a serious relegation battle in the league.
Another frustrating weekend in their goalless tie with Waterford which kept them bottom of the league.
A positive for the club is the news of the signings of three new strikers. All three are currently in quarantine, with both Scott Fenwick and Kit Elliot available to play from next week’s game home to Sligo while Connor Simpson’s quarantine period is over for the game away to Derry.
Fenn was quoted this week in saying all three signings are a massive bonus to the team and badly needed at this part of the season.
“We knew we needed to get some fire power in for the remainder of the season, and the board backed us on that,” said Fenn.
"We’ve brought in three attacking players, each adding a different dimension to the squad. Scott is going to be a real leader in the dressing room, which will be a big help to some of our younger players.
“Kit is able to hold up the ball and bring our more creative players into the game. We’ve seen in bursts of what Daire O’Connor and Cory Galvin can do when they are running at players, so having a player like Kit available will create opportunities for us to get into better positions when we’re attacking the opposition.
“Connor is a big lad but has good feet, and can finish. We were looking at him for a while so delighted to get the deal done. I expect us to really up the ante in terms of our attacking play over the coming weeks and getting these new boys in was critical to making that happen."
Surely Fenn will have his side fired up for that victory tonight as he faces Daire Doyle, who was brought in as interim manager when Fenn stepped down to take the City job. Doyle has since being appointed as manager of Longford and I have no doubt this is a game Fenn won’t want to be losing.
It would be great to see the team firing on all cylinders, starting tonight, for the arrival of the new lads, then we might see their full potential being realised.