CORK City are on the brink of league glory as they head up to Shamrock Rovers for this evening's televised clash on RTE, 7.45pm.
A victory in Tallaght for City coupled with a defeat for Dundalk at home to St Pat's, however unlikely, would see the club wrap up their third league crown. As it stands it's only a matter of time before John Caulfield's side bridge a gap to the last success in 2005, 17 points clear in the Premier Division, though their next game after tonight is away to Longford in the FAI Cup quarter-final on September 9.
Attacking midfielder Garry Buckley is certainly hoping they can seal the deal sooner rather than later.
“It would be great if the league came early for us and then we could focus on the FAI Cup, our away game with Longford Town and trying to do the double. We go out to win every game and it will be the same against Rovers and there is that bit of extra spice in the fixture but that has always been there.
"They certainly won’t want us to win on their patch and they are chasing the points themselves to try and get European football next season,” said Buckley.
The Ballyvolane man has been on song in recent weeks, hitting some key goals. Even though City were twice caught at home in shock losses to Bohs and Sligo having gone unbeaten up to that.
“I am happy enough with my own form, and as long as I am contributing with a few goals, that’s the main thing. The only thing we want is those gold medals to signify we are league champions and we are just two wins away from it now.
“All the teams we play, home or away, they are raising their game and they want to be the ones to beat us and you could see that with Bohs and Sligo. It’s what you come to expect when you are top dogs and that’s the challenge we have to try and overcome in every game.
“We took a little dip against Bohs and Sligo but prior to that we had gone 22 games unbeaten and that’s not too bad over a season. It was an incredible run and hopefully we can carry on the good form we showed against Athlone in the Cup tonight,” he added.
“We don’t go out looking for draws and we have a good system. We will go after the three points tonight and our away form with 12 wins and a draw bears that out.
"The seven goals against Athlone was welcome and we had a good spread of goal-scorers too. We approached the game with a good attitude and it’s the same tonight.
“The first goal could be key to it but we both need the points for different reasons. We are just two wins away and ideally you want to wrap it up as soon as possible but listen I won’t mind if it drags on a bit,” he explained.
The dynamic 24-year-old hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing cross-channel football either, after seeing Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor move to Preston North End.
“Every footballer wants to play at their highest level and it is appealing to be fair. It’s great to see the two lads get the move they deserved and to see Seanie (Maguire) linked with a call up to the national squad and hopefully he will get it now for the Serbia game in Dublin on Tuesday.
“It’s good for the domestic league here and shows us in a good light when we have lads moving abroad like that but we have lots of good players in this league and I am sure many more will go in the future,” said Buckley.