“It’s a tremendous feeling for everyone at the club,” said the Dundalk manager.
“It’s been an epic season really and to win everything the way we did in the end, to win the cup like that, it was a great effort by the players.
“It was a difficult match. Cork have great competitors all over the park. They’re ultra competitive and they don’t give you an inch. While it’s 0-0 you always know you can concede right at the death and then it’s over, you’re out, you’re going home, so it was important we defended well and we did that — and then we took our chance when it came.
“It was a brilliant bit of skill by Daryl (Horgan) down the left — he was doing that all through the game — and then Richie (Towell) took it on his left foot. It’s just his third goal of the season, out of 29, on his left foot, so we’ll take that.
“There are different ways to win a match. It wasn’t a scintillating (performance) but it was still good enough to win, and I thought we were worthy winners.”
Gracious in defeat, Cork City manager John Caulfield didn’t disagree.
“On a day like this, you have to congratulate Dundalk,” he said. “They’ve won the league twice and they’ve won the double. From our point of view, our players left everything on the pitch. That’s all I asked for and if that wasn’t good enough, fair enough, and obviously in this match it wasn’t.
“To be fair to Dundalk, in extra time I thought they totally dominated us. For long periods of the match we were well in there but certainly in extra time we were in trouble and on the back foot. And we have no excuses from that point of view.
“For me, we’ve had two very good years as a team challenging Dundalk. We have a bit of rebuilding to do, we know that, and the standard they have set is very high. We’re not far from it but certainly we need to be more dynamic and we need more energy — and that work that starts tomorrow morning.
“The challenge is to get up to the level Dundalk are at. So, lookit, all the lads are absolutely gutted, they gave everything and, as a manager, you can’t ask any more. Some days you’re beaten by a better side. The one thing is that I’m confident we’ll be back again, and it’s my job to make sure we’re a better side next year. That’s our aim.”
Meanwhile, Dundalk’s matchwinner Richie Towell revealed that Daryl Horgan’s assist for the goal was precisely what he’d asked for at the end of 90 minutes.
“I said to Horgs coming out for extra-time, ‘Horgs, just give me one chance’,” said Towell. “He was getting into great spaces and I just wanted one opportunity, and then I was confident I was going to put it away. And the little man put it on my foot as usual, and I was lucky enough to hit the back of the net.
“If somebody had told me this was going to happen at the start of the year I would have bitten your hand off for it. To score the winner in the cup final — it’s just a magical way to end an unbelievable season.”