CORK CITY games against Shelbourne have always been big important fixtures. Friday's clash will be no different.
Over the years we have seen both sides battle it out in a competitive manner, with their most recent meetings resulting in a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 defeat.
At the Cross, Colin Healy’s side are expecting another tough encounter, but it’s a game in which they are under slight pressure to get a result.
Having lost two of their opening three games (1-0 against both Cabinteely and Athlone), Healy’s side are eager to get points back on the table, but a great performance is also needed.
Shels and City were relegated last season and for many, it would have been these two as favourites to go straight back up. So this is where the pressure lies tonight.
On paper, City look very strong, however, they have yet to put in a convincing performance and Healy is aware of this and hopes it can be corrected.
“Yes, I do believe we played better against Athlone than we had done in our previous two games, however that counts for nothing when you don’t get three points.
“Not getting the results is not good enough as we have set the standards higher,” said Healy.
“It’s always a massive game when you’re playing the likes of Shels.
“There’s no doubt that we have prepared and will be looking to get the three points tonight with a good performance.
“It’s always interesting when The Reds come to Cork as it ends up being a good competitive game and we expect the same tonight.
“The boys have trained hard this week and we are ready for the challenge. We have had a look at their previous games and we know what they are about.
“They are a good side who play two up top so we will have our hands full, but we are prepared and looking forward to it.”
Mark McNulty, Steven Beattie, and Ronan Hurley I expect will start, while last week we saw a new centre-half pairing of George Heaven and Jonas Hakkinen and I expect that will stay the same.
I would imagine Dylan McGlade and Cian Bargarry will work the flanks once again, while Alec Byrne, Gearoid Morrissey, and Cian Coleman will probably start in the middle, although I think this would be the perfect game for Corey Galvin.
I’ve said it before I think he’s an exciting player who likes to run at players and that is what I believe City are lacking at the moment in that number 10 role.
I think Galvin would be the perfect player to play off the impressive Jack Walsh.
But who would lose out if that was to be the case? Morrissey or Coleman?
Two great players no doubt, but neither have stood out for me this season and at this level and with their experience, I think they should.
Walsh made his debut last week and richly deserved his Man of the Match award.
His work-rate was immense and his ability to hold up the ball was a joy to watch. However, I felt he lacked support at times and I think Galvin may just be the answer to that problem.
I am looking forward to seeing Ian Morris’ side and welcome back to the Cross former City player Kevin O’Connor.
Elsewhere, in Ferrycarrig Park, Cobh Ramblers will seek to build on their game against Treaty and get some more points on the table, preferably all three to secure their first win of the season.
Ramblers should possibly have headed into tonight’s game on six points.
A great performance in their opening game against Cork City saw them lose 2-1, but they will know they should have got something from that game.
Likewise against Treaty, when they played over an hour with an extra man and to finish levelwas disappointing for Stuart Ashton’s men.
Although Wexford finished bottom of the league last year, with Cobh beating them twice, 4-1 each time, the Cork side won’t be taking too much notice of this as Athlone are top, and they too finished at the bottom on 12 points last season.
Wexford were beaten 1-0 by Shels last week so I would expect a tough test for Cobh.