CORK City received a welcome double boost on arrival in the Baltic capital of Tallinn in Estonia as they continue their build up to their Europa League, first round qualifier against Levadia Tallinn in the summer resort town of Parnu tomorrow evening (kick-off 4.30pm Irish time).
Both skipper Alan Bennett and Steven Beattie had been troubled by ankle ligament injuries but both declared themselves fit for tomorrow’s first leg clash with the return to come at Turner’s Cross tomorrow night week.
With club captain Johnny Dunleavy ruled out of the travelling party with a knee injury sustained in the 4-1 home win over Limerick the chances are that the 34-year-old Bennett will wear the captain’s armband in what will be his 15th European tie and all with his beloved Cork City.
Beattie has been out for a few weeks after a knock against Shamrock Rovers and while he told me he is fit and ready to go, he may well have to settle for a place on the bench with the likes of Greg Bolger, Shane Griffin, John Kavanagh, Achille Campion, Conor Ellis and reserve keeper Alan Smith.
Utility man Jimmy Keohane who was red carded against Derry City last weekend is eligible to play here but he faces a match ban when Cork resume their league programme at home to St Pat’s on Sunday week.
City will have a final training session at the match venue, the Parnu Rannastaadion at tea-time tonight before manager John Caulfield selects his team.
Probable (4-2-3-1): McNulty; Keohane, Bennett (capt), Delaney, O’Connor; McCormack, Morrissey; Sheppard, Buckley, Dooley; Maguire.
Tonight at the Rochestown Park Hotel in Douglas, Irish legend and RTÉ soccer pundit Johnny Giles and Preston North End’s rising star Alan Browne will be Ruairi O’Hagan’s guests at a fundraiser for the Cork City women’s soccer team at 8pm.