'It was cruelty to my players': Kenny Shiels outraged over Cork City fixture

Kenny Shiels has hit out at the treatment of his players by fixture-makers as "cruelty".

Derry City were hammered 5-0 by Cork City at Turner's Cross last night, four days after their gallant Europa League exit in Belarus. They beat hosts Dinamo Minsk 2-1 but lost 3-2 on aggregate.

Shiels said he hadn't even time to hold a training session before embarking on the longest league trip of the season.

Fitness was the difference, he added, after Garry Buckley scored a brace for Cork City, Jimmy Keohane added another and there were goals for league debutants Damien Delaney and Ronan Coughlan.

“It was cruelty to my players,” he told RTÉ.

“We’ve played on Thursday. We’ve travelled all the way home and then all the way to Cork. We haven’t had one training session and they’ve had five days' preparation for this. It’s bang out of order.

“The longest journey in the league is Cork to Derry or Derry to Cork, and they have this fixture the same week as the two teams are playing in Europe. They were playing on Tuesday, we were playing on Thursday. We’re just back from our trip. I’m not even back from the trip yet.

“It’s a disgrace what they’ve done, making us play this game here on the Monday after us travelling all the way, and then we have to travel six-and-a-half hours down to Cork after it all.

“The boys are not fit. They’re on their knees. It was pure fitness that won the match. It’s cruelty, absolute cruelty.”

Last Friday, Sligo Rovers criticised the FAI for an 11-week gap between home league fixtures.

They'll go between June 30 and September 15 without hosting a league game at the Showgrounds after their game against Dundalk was postponed due to the Lilywhites' European commitments.

"The lack of home league gates creates a challenge for the club. As always we understand our supporters will be concerned, firstly knowing they cannot enjoy watching the team in league action for 11 weeks, and then the clear financial strain it puts on us without gate receipts for such a time," they said.

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