THE BIG game is on.
Cork City and the Munster FA have battled hurricane Ophelia and a collapsed roof on the Derrynane Road stand at Turner’s Cross to get tonight’s title decider between John Caulfield’s charges and Derry City on with a 7.20pm kick-off (live on RTÉ2).
Cork just need a point to clinch the title for the first time in 12 years is what could be a repeat of their 2005 triumph against the same opposition.
A task force of workmen and engineers from Martin O’Callaghan Builders Limited moved into the venue at first light this morning to dismantle the roof of the storm-damaged Derrynane Road stand and render it safe.
This side of the ground, a stand that holds in the region 1,100 spectators, will be closed to the general public tonight.
An engineer visited the ground yesterday afternoon and while damage was done to a particular section, the rest of the stadium was not affected. The engineer approved the fixture proceeding once the necessary works are completed this morning in clearing debris.
On the playing front, Cork have Steven Beattie back from the one-match ban that kept him out of the 0-0 draw with Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Friday night, while the Candy stripes have Nick Low back from a ban and likely to replace Harry Monaghan in a midfield holding role but full-back Dean Jarvis is out injured.
“It’s all to play for tonight. If we get the desired result, we win the league so where else would you want to be?” asked Caulfield when he met the media at Bishopstown.
“A point will do us but we will be going out to win the game and take the three points and that’s the message we have been drilling into the lads all weekend.
“We go into the game with back-to-back clean sheets and while the lads at the back will be looking to keep another shut-out, our attacking players will be looking to score goals and I am confident we will score tonight.
“We are where we are, we’re at home.
“It’s massive expectation, but the players are looking forward to it, they can handle it, and it’s a great place to be for a special team like us,” he added.
Meanwhile, City’s U17 team, under manager Paul Bowdren, have been drawn away to Galway United in the semi-finals of the U17 national league, playoffs with Waterford at home to Bohemians at the RSC in the other semi-final clash.
No date has been confirmed as yet for the semi-finals.