WHILE Cork City and Dundalk have had ownership of the top two Premier Division spots over the past five seasons, for now at least Shamrock Rovers have broken up that duopoly.
So it is that, after travelling to face second-placed Dundalk last Friday, City host the seven-point leaders Rovers at Turner’s Cross tomorrow night. Midfielder Conor McCormack is relishing the chance to bounce back from the loss at Oriel Park.
“Every game’s a big game,” he says.
“We want to win every game but we’ll definitely be up for this one. Hopefully, the crowd will come behind us again, like the last game that we had there against Bohs.
“We’re really looking forward to it. They’re a big team, Shamrock Rovers are always expected to win games but any team will struggle down here.
“Once we’re at it and the crowd is behind us, it’s a real fortress down here. I know myself, coming down to Turner’s Cross to play against good Cork teams, it’s really hard to get going sometimes.
“We’ll be looking to start well on Friday and really get in their faces.”
McCormack and midfield partner Gearóid Morrissey are likely to come up against former colleague Greg Bolger.
“Greg was a great player here and he’s doing very well with Rovers,” McCormack says, “hopefully we can get the better of him.
“We try to concentrate on our own game as much as we can and then, when they have the ball, we go out to stop them, keep them as far from our goal as possible.
“They have a lot of quality but a lot of teams in the league have a lot of quality. We’re not afraid of anyone, of course we’re not, we’re looking forward to Friday.”
So far this season, McCormack has been one of City’s better players.
“It’s been okay, I’m happy enough,” he says.
“There are a lot of areas I can improve on and get better. I’m trying to work on that every day on the training ground and give 110 percent in every game.
“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t picked up more points since the start of the season but we’re working hard to put that right.”
And, collectively, there is a mission to bounce back from the display at Oriel Park. However, McCormack doesn’t feel that the need for improvement is drastic.
“We were unfortunate to concede in the first half,” he says, “I thought we defended pretty well.
“It was a lapse in concentration at a crucial time in the game, if we had gone at half-time at 0-0 then we would have been happy with that.
“It was just unfortunate the way the goal went in, sometimes that happens in games and unfortunately we didn’t get any points.”