Dundalk and Cork meet in the President's Cup at Oriel Park this afternoon as the final countdown to the SSE Airtricity League season gets underway.
The game is traditionally played between the league and FAI Cup winnners but, as City won the double, the Lilywhites fill the fixture as runner-up in both competitions.
The teams have built up a rivalry over a number of season, often getting as heated off the pitch as on it, and this game will certainly have an edge to it, despite being the last preparation game for the new campaign.
Dundalk will be without the services of Stephen O’Donnell (calf), John Mountney (knee) and Patrick Hoban (thigh).
However Dean Jarvis, Brian Gartland and Robbie Benson all come back into contention having missed Wednesday’s victory over Brentford B.
Johnny Dunleavy’s return from a knee injury is progressing well for the Rebels, but he is not yet in contention to return to action, while a knock means that Garry Buckley has also been ruled out, although he is expected to return in the very near future.
John Caulfield also has doubts over the availability of Barry McNamee, Karl Sheppard and Steven Beattie, each of whom will be assessed closer to kick-off (2pm).
A minute's silence will be observed before the game in memory of the late Republic of Ireland and Cork City midfielder Liam Miller , who died on Friday.
President Higgins sends his best wishes to the players, management and supporters of @DundalkFC and @CorkCityFC ahead of Sunday's President's Cup! pic.twitter.com/URAVX3i58O
February 9, 2018
Caulfield said: "Pre-season has gone well. The weather has been tough, so we have done a lot more training on all-weather than we might have in previous years. The new lads have settled in well and we are pleased with that also.
"We are all looking forward to the game. Games between the two teams are always very competitive and that makes it an ideal game to have right before the start of the season. Dundalk will also have some new faces in their squad, as do we, so it will be an interesting game."
"With a number of new players coming into both teams, it is about how quickly the teams settle. We will get a better idea today but, from our point of view, we have had a very good pre-season and this is a great game to have."
Stephen Kenny is also content with how things have gone in recent weeks: "I think pre-season has gone well. It has been a common theme in pre-season that we have gone a goal down. We will have to eradicate that but we have come back and won regularly. That’s a good trait to have to come back and win like that.
"I wouldn’t be too focused on the results in pre-season. We had players who needed to play more games and get their match fitness up which we have done that.
"There’s still room for improvement overall I feel and the more games they play, the better we will get.
"It’s all about getting ourselves ready for the first league game against Bray Wanderers next Friday but Sunday is a good game to be involved.
"It’s another match for us and it’s going to be very competitive against Cork City and we are looking forward to it."