FAI Cup Preview: Duggy: “Everybody Has To Be 100 Percent At It”

Captain Shane Duggan says Limerick’s performance against Dundalk last week “gives us belief” for the rematch in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup quarter-finals but he says “everybody has to be 100 percent at it” if they are to cause a shock.

It is 38 years since Limerick defeated Dundalk in the competition, a team in which Duggan’s father Ger played in at Oriel Park in March 1980, where an 81st-minute Tony Morris goal edged them through 1-0. That was just a month before they lifted their last league title as they ended the Lilywhites’ hold on both trophies that season.

The clubs are in very different situations now, with Limerick almost certain to be in the relegation playoff for the second time in four seasons while Dundalk appear well on course to make it four Premier Division crowns in five years while they also have ambitions of another double to follow 2015.

Whatever the outcome in Friday’s last-eight clash at the Markets Field (7.45pm) there is a lot to play for this season for the Shannonsiders. But Duggan says knocking out Dundalk would “give the group massive confidence” in the challenges ahead.

“Last week’s performance gives us belief,” Duggan said in ‘Captain’s Call’ in the Limerick FC Matchday Magazine. “We saw what we could do when we performed like we did here last Friday against Dundalk.

“We know that, once again, everybody has to be 100 percent at it and concentrate for the full 90 minutes. Hopefully, we will get the bit of luck needed too. I think in all big games, especially in a competition like the FAI Cup, you need that rub of the green along the way if you are to get through to the final. We hope to have that on our side and get the win.

Captain Shane Duggan in action against Dundalk’s Dylan Connolly during last week’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at the Markets Field which the visitors won after a late goal from Michael Duffy. Photos thanks to Joe Buckley.

“It was an encouraging display (last week). We had worked on the game-plan during the week about maybe sitting off them a bit more and hitting them on the counter-attack. I thought it worked for us – we maybe could have created a few more opportunities on the break. But we frustrated them for most of the game and we had some chances ourselves.

“We were still missing a lot of players from the squad, and had players playing out of position. We were happy with how we played but disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of it. In fairness, though, Dundalk kept plugging away and they got the three points. That is always the sign of a good team. They are six points clear now and I can’t see them being stopped at this stage. It was good on their behalf but frustrating on ours.

“We know we are underdogs here and going in against the odds, but in cup-competition anything can happen. Hopefully, we can get the result we want, which would give the group massive confidence going into the final weeks of the campaign.

“The mood has been positive in the camp this week. I know we didn’t get the three points last week but we were missing a lot of players, and we were up against the best team in the country. They didn’t come down and batter or steamroll us. We held our own and made good chances. It was a 50/50 game, really, and I thought we could have definitely held out for a point at least. The lads are confident this week.”

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Date: Thursday 6 September 2018