Cork City made hard work of a 2-1 win over Drogheda United in Cork last night but with that the Rebel Army will be playing European football in Turner’s Cross next season following a long lay-off from continental competition.
Horrendous conditions were the back-drop to a night where Cork City had to grind out a 2-1 win, despite looking like casually coming away with a 2-0 victory until a late goal from 10-man Drogheda United’s Declan O’Brien caused a nervy finish.
The consensus from City boss John Caulfield and defender, turned centre mid for the night John Dunleavy was that three points was the crucial aspect to take away from last night’s game.
Speaking to the press following his side’s win over Drogheda, City captain Dunleavy alluded to the importance of gaining another three points,
“Tonight was all about getting the three points, putting a little bit of pressure on Dundalk at the top,
“all we can do is our own job, we can’t concentrate on anything else, we can’t look at what they do, we can’t control what they do, all we can do is go out on a Friday night, pick up three points and move on to next week.”
City manager John Caulfield was equally as pragmatic when discussing the importance of taking away all three points.
“I said before the match that it was vital for us to get the three points, we knew Drogheda would throw everything at us and I thought overall it was a good performance. It was a bit disappointing the way we conceded a goal but still, we got three points.
“For the first time in a long, long time we’re on the same number of points as Dundalk so despite the fact their name is on the cup and everyone says it’s Dundalk bound, we’re still there and it’s great, and great for the lads and great for our supporters.”
Cork City now have European football confirmed for next season but the battle continues with Dundalk to win the Premier Division title.
“We’re all delighted that we’ve qualified for Europe but more importantly we’re delighted that we have gone, on points, back up with Dundalk…if you had said that eight weeks ago people would have thought you were off your game, well we’re still there.” Caulfield said.
It was the warmest welcome an opposing manager has been given at Turner’s Cross all season and it was a little reminder to the Rebel Army faithful of what may yet come this season as Damien Richardson returned to the Cross as the last City boss to have won the Premier Division title with the Leesiders.
Speaking after the game Richardson had this to say about his time in Cork:
“If I’m going to have any player in my team his ability gets him in the door but if he wants to stay in my team there has to be an honesty; an integrity and a willingness to work hard for the team. That’s what I learnt in Cork, that’s part and parcel of what sport in all codes in Cork is all about.
“I recognised that tonight when I got the great response that all the years I’ve been here and all that I’ve delivered and given, and sometimes the not successful days as well is appreciated by people and that’s to me what sport [is all about]…what life is all about; that you recognise the value in somebody giving everything they’ve got and caring very much about what they’re giving and who they’re giving it to…that to me tonight was something that I enjoyed tremendously but I really knew that it would be nothing less.”
With just three games to go for Cork City and four for Dundalk, with both teams level on points at the top of the table, the league is once again set up for a thrilling finish.
The words of Richardson explain just how competitive this title race has been as well as what is yet to come in the next few weeks as the battle for the title of League of Ireland Premier Division champions between Cork City and Dundalk draws to a conclusion.
“Both sides have good players, both sides have a winning mentality and neither side gives in, isn’t that what you want from a league, even if it’s only a two horse race, it’s a real good two horse race.”
Remaining Cork City fixtures
UCD away (10th of October), Bohemians at home (17th of October) & Dundalk away (24th of October).
Remaining Dundalk fixtures
Athlone away (10th of October), Shamrock Rovers at home (13th of October), Bray Wanderers away (17th of October) & Cork City at home (24th of October).
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena.