Mark McNulty to play 123rd consecutive game for Cork City against Limerick

It would be stretching it to say last Saturday’s win over Dundalk was a day of rest for Cork City keeper Mark McNulty. But he’s had his hands full before and after the 2-1 win which saw Cork claim their sixth victory in seven against their great rivals.

Mark McNulty to play 123rd consecutive game for Cork City against Limerick

McNulty’s wife Therese gave birth to a baby girl last Friday, on the eve of the top-of-the-table clash, so there was cause for double celebration for the family at the weekend.

You could say McNulty is the daddy of this Cork City side too. The Ballincollig man is a bridge between the old and the new at Turner’s Cross: McNulty is the only survivor from the team which emerged from the wreckage of the disillusioned, demoted, and dissolved Cork City FC to play as Cork City FORAS Co-op in its first match in the First Division, at Derry in 2010.

From there, it’s putting it mildly to say he has made the No1 jersey his own. The victory over Dundalk on Saturday was the Ballincollig man’s 122nd consecutive game for the club.

Number 123 arrives against Limerick tomorrow.

“It’s a nice little record, obviously I want to keep it going,” says McNulty. “It always nice to beat your rivals, we beat Rovers the week before who will probably be another title rival and to beat Dundalk, another rival, is good but it’s early days.

“Look, it’s easy to get up for the big ones. Maybe that was our problem the last few years, we weren’t picking up wins to the lesser teams but this year we’re digging out good results. Beating Dundalk is no different from beating Harps on the first day of the season. We keep going.”

McNulty may not be shouting about it – perhaps it’s the sleepless nights - but the Dundalk game was a huge result, putting City six points clear of their great rivals after just six games.

Things could have been different at Turner’s Cross on Saturday when the score was just 1-0, when Lillywhites striker Ciaran Kilduff fell to the turf under pressure from the Cork keeper and pleaded for a penalty. Referee Robbie Rogers didn’t budge, but McNulty must have thought the worst surely? Not a bit of it.

“Ah no, it’s part and parcel of football,” he says matter-of-factly.I made a save, Kilduff came in and got a nick on it, (defender) Ryan Delaney, myself and Kilduff all came together. For me, there was nothing in it. I know Stephen Kenny said he thinks it was a stonewall penalty. I don’t think it was a penalty; it’s a coming together between three players, the referee didn’t give it and I think the referee got the decision right.”

McNulty is clearly not one for looking back and has already turned his attention to tomorrow night’s Munster derby against Limerick at the Markets Field.

Martin Russell’s Shannonsiders go into the game on the back of an impressive victory at Bray, secured by a Paul O’Conor’s fantastic long-range strike.

McNulty welcomes another local rival to the top division.

“It’s good to have Limerick back up in the Premier Division. they’re a good side. I talk to (former City player) Shane Duggan a lot, he’s been telling me how good they are with the ball, so we know we have a tough game. We’re looking forward to it and I know the Cork fans are too.”

Cork are expected to be missing midfielder Greg Bolger, with a late decision to be made on the Wexford man. No away tickets will be sold on the night so City fans are warned they can only purchase in the Cork City FC club shop.

Meanwhile, Dundalk midfielder Robbie Benson is expected to miss between six and eight weeks having limped off against City last Saturday with a hamstring problem.

“Robbie got the results of his scan and it’s a grade two tear high up in the hamstring, which rules him out for a minimum of 6-8 weeks,” Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny told dundalkfc.com.

“It’s a big blow for Robbie and for us.”

Dundalk face local rivals Drogheda United tomorrow night.

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