CORK CITY'S all-action utility man Steven Beattie is desperate to make John Caulfield’s team selection at Limerick on Friday night having had to withdraw from the team that beat Longford Town in the FAI Cup quarter-finals before kick-off two weeks ago.
The Dubliner who has been slotting in at right-back in the absence of club captain Johnny Dunleavy can play wide on the right as well and he is set to come back into the team for this important televised provincial derby at the Markets Field on Friday evening (7.30pm).
Beattie had been troubled by an ankle ligament strain but that has cleared up now and after a ‘free’ weekend, the ex-Bohs and Sligo Rovers man is bursting to play here. City need to beat Limerick and claim the three points and if they manage that then a draw at home to three in-a-row defending champions Dundalk at Turner’s Cross on Monday night will land the club a first league title in 12 years.
“The priority is to beat Limerick first and foremost and genuinely no one had even mentioned Dundalk. Limerick is the next match and that’s how we are approaching it on a game-by-game basis. You’d be a silly man to be thinking too far ahead in this game,” he added.
“Limerick are fighting for their lives to stay in the top division but I suppose they have a bit of breathing space in the sense that they have Galway and Drogheda to play at home after us. It would be good for us if they stayed up and we have Waterford promoted as First Division champions and that would give us two close by Munster derbies next season.
“Even for me as a Dub coming into the Cork City set up, I know exactly how much it means to the club and the fans and I think we can use that to our advantage and hopefully thrive on it.
"We need to take the three points tomorrow night, tick the Limerick box and then and only then do we consider Monday’s game with Dundalk. All we have been doing all year is looking at the next three points, the next game and that’s the way it is with us.
“I suppose it would be handy to have the league wrapped up before we go and play Limerick again in the FAI Cup semi-finals in Cork on tomorrow night week but that’s easier said than done when every team we play want to stop us in our tracks.
“It will be an interesting night’s football okay with us trying to win a league title and Limerick fighting for their lives and trying to avoid the three club relegation at the end of the season.
"There will be a bit of spice to it as well with so many Cork lads with Limerick in John O’Flynn, Stephen Kenny, Shane Duggan and Chiedozie Ogbene and they have Joe Gamble on the staff as well as their strength and conditioning coach. We have every respect for Limerick but we need to go and do a job,” added Beattie who looks set to come into the back four at right-full.
Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley have shaken off niggling knocks over the last 12 days since City’s last outing against Longford Town at City Calling Stadium where Stephen Dooley got half a game on his comeback from a calf tear injury.
Conor McCarthy, Greg Bolger and ex-Limerick man Robbie Williams all played in that 4-1 victory with Bennett, Buckley, Beattie and Conor McCormack all on the bench and un-used subs on the day.
Connor Ellis at half-time for Dooley and Achille Campion after 75 minutes for Kieran Sadlier were the only two substitutes used.