Despite being little over 30 years old, tonight’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division decider against Dundalk will be the fourth time that Cork City have taken part in a final-day battle for a title.
Leaving aside the three-team play-off against Bohemians and Shelbourne in 1993, City beat Derry City to claim the eircom League in 2005 and three years ago beat Shels to win Division 1.
The only time such a game has gone against them was in 1991, when Tom McNulty’s goal gave Dundalk a 1-0 win at Turner’s Cross and the Premier Division. While current City manager John Caulfield was playing then, he isn’t fearful of it being an omen.
“There’s no comparison, except for the fact that the same two teams are here so many years later,” he said.
“At the time, we hadn’t won anything and Dundalk were used to winning. They had players in their team who had won a league and they handled the occasion better than us.
“We managed the week badly and managed the occasion badly and maybe the experience got them over the line.
“Don’t get me wrong, we were all mad, passionate players but the whole lifestyle is totally different than now, the football is different, the way people look after themselves, the grounds are different.”
With City a point ahead, a draw at Oriel Park tonight would be sufficient for the club to win a third league title. Caulfield refuses to entertain such notions, however.
“We’ve only been speaking all week about going to Dundalk and winning the match,” he said.
“In every game this season, we’ve only gone to win. Our work on the training ground this week has only been about winning, that’s the only way you can approach it.
“If you decide to leave off two or three players and bring in more defenders, you’re on a hiding to nothing, you’re inviting the situation.
“We’re quite capable of going there to score and going there to win. ”
Six wins in a row since draws against Bray Wanderers and Athlone Town have brought City to tonight. Their last defeat was the 2-1 home loss to Dundalk in August, but Caulfield believes that recent form shows that prior meetings against teams haven’t been a hindrance.
“There has been a seven-point swingaround and that’s because we’ve won six games in a row, we’re unbeaten since the break.
“The week after Dundalk, we played St Pat’s and we hadn’t beaten them all season, and we beat them.
“A few weeks ago, we played Sligo and we were told that we hadn’t beaten them all year — which we hadn’t — and we beat them. Then, we had Bohemians last week, who we had played four times and hadn’t beaten them.
“We had to beat them last Friday and we did. People are saying that we haven’t beaten Dundalk, and we haven’t, so Friday night’ll see.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved