The mood in the Cork City camp at present is one of positivity and confidence, and when looking at the Leesiders’ recent form of six wins from six it’s not hard not to see why.
The Rebel Army’s manager John Caulfield gave this response to the media today when reflecting on a season in which some believed City have punched above their weight.
“I just felt that halfway through the season, particularly after the mid-season break when we went on a good run then, I just felt that the possibility was that we could hang in there and stay in contention.”
“I just had a gut feeling that we might get to this situation and it’s great credit due to the lads, and look it we’re here and we’re all looking forward to going to Dundalk.”
When discussing the issue of the artificial surface in Dundalk, Caulfield didn’t use the pitch as an excuse and showed huge belief in his squad ahead of the journey to Louth next Friday.
“We won’t be making any excuses, we know the scenario. We’ve been training all week on the all-weather pitch and we’re adjusting to it and…we’re not going to be making any excuses about it because we know about it, and what we have to do is make sure that we give a top performance up there, which we’re well capable of doing, and I believe if we do that we’ll win the league
“…and if we give a top performance and they’re better than us…you shake their hands and congratulate them, but I just feel that if we give a top performance, I just think we will win the league.”
Although following last week’s results Cork City will now only need a point to overcome the Lilywhites, the City boss is adamant his team will be going to Dundalk with only one thing in mind – to play for a win.
“If you decide to leave off two or three players; bring four more defenders in, you’re not hiding to nothing and then you’re inviting the situation. We’re quite capable of going to Dundalk to score; we’re quite capable of going up there to win.
“We may not but we are capable of doing it and the lads believe that, but we know how difficult it is because they’re a super team and I suppose all the advantages are for them because they’re at home and on the pitch and they’re such a good side
…certainly we’re fully focused on going up to Dundalk to win the match and that’s all it is.”
These sentiments were echoed by club captain John Dunleavy.
“It’s a great position that we’ve put ourselves in but we have to and finish it off now. I think we’ve probably developed a bit of a ruthlessness within the team in the last few weeks
“…winning six games in a row and such big pressure matches that they were as well. But like I say, it’ll all count for nothing if we can’t perform as well as we can on Friday night. We know it’s going to be tough but we’re all really looking forward to it.”
Cork City head to Dundalk with some injury doubts in Gearoid Morrissey and Ross Gaynor who’s fitness is to be tested on Friday ahead of the decider. The City boss is also hopeful Josh O’Shea will be recovered by Friday.
Dundalk have drawn their last two matches as they head into this game, making City the in-form side but Dundalk have already beaten Cork City twice this season.
The game on Friday will be the culmination of a season’s hard work and although Dundalk have already secured the EA Sports Cup they will not be content unless they come away with the Premier Division title. Cork City have secured European football but a nine year wait for the title will look to be ended by the Leesiders on Friday night.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena.