AEK Larnaca’s Spanish manager, Imanol Idiakez said that facing Cork City in the Europa League at Turner’s Cross tonight is one of the most difficult ties his side could have imagined.
The 45-year-old from San Sebastian reckons Cork with a 25-game unbeaten record going into this evening’s first leg clash are one of the fittest teams in Europe at the moment.
“We have studied Cork’s form and they are a strong fit team and they score goals. We know their quality and they are good in transition. They have clear ideas on how to play the game. We will have to be at our best tonight to get a result,” he added.
“We are out-of-season and our last competitive game, apart from the Lincoln Reds Imps in the last round, was back on May 20 in our own league in Cyprus but we played two friendly games in Poland on the way here and that was good for us.
“Our style is based on a possession game and we have a lot of Spanish players in the team and we keep the ball well. We will need to produce our best version tonight to get a result.
"It’s important for us to try and get an away goal tonight,” he added.
Meanwhile, Schools international Conor McCarthy has signed his first professional contract with Cork City.
He joined the club’s underage set-up from Blarney United, made his debut against Shamrock Rovers and played in the 1-0 win over St Pat’s last Sunday.
“I am delighted to sign a professional contract. This has been the aim from when I joined the club at 16, right up to now and being in the first team squad. I can’t wait to get started; I have been training for the last couple of weeks and getting up to the pace, so it is up to me now to push on and make as many appearances as I possibly can.
“I was happy with my performance against St Pat’s. I felt I did a job and we kept a clean sheet, which helped us to the three points in our push for the league. The target is to make as many appearances as I can this season and see where that takes me,” said McCarthy.
A talented hurler too, McCarthy, a nephew of Tomás Mulcahy, featured for the Cork minors in 2015 alongside current senior stars Shane Kingston, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Mark Coleman.
Meanwhile, Finn Harps home game against Cork City scheduled for Friday, July 21 has been postponed due to City's Europa League commitments, and a new date will be announced shortly.