A dream and a privilege to have been given the opportunity, John Caulfield said it was like “going to heaven every day” during his time managing Cork City. Speaking for the first time since his departure from Turner’s Cross five weeks ago, Caulfield has been happy to just catch his breath again having given everything to the job.
Appointed in November 2013 after the team had finished mid-table that season, Caulfield immediately transformed City into a far more competitive side and the only real challengers to a dominant Dundalk under Stephen Kenny. In his subsequent five-and-a-half years at the helm, Cork won the league and cup double in 2017 as they retained the FAI Cup lifted the previous year. In every one of his five full seasons in charge, his team pushed Dundalk all the way.
“I was a player, I was a supporter. It was a dream job and a privilege to be the manager of Cork City. Very few get that opportunity,” Caulfield said in an interview with Trevor Welch on The Score on Cork’s 96FM.
“It was a 24/7 job and I gave everything I could. Sometimes when you step back you don’t realise the toll it has taken on yourself and family.
“The last few weeks have been good in regard to getting my energy back and refreshing and review what a fabulous time I had at the club over the last five-and-a-half years. I’m looking back on great times and also looking forward to moving on to different things as well.”
Asked if he’d any regrets at how it ended, Caulfield said:
Professional football is the toughest game. When I go back to November 2013 … it was a journey we didn’t know what to expect. But we said we’d put our heart and soul into it and gave it 24/7. And that’s exactly what we did.
There was other news from Cork City, with Lisa Fallon confirming her exit from the club. Fallon was part of Caulfield’s backroom team, and was serving as the club’s head of analysis.
Fallon wrote on social media: “So many incredible memories at a fantastic club. Its been unreal! Wishing everyone at Cork City every success in the future.”
Meanwhile in tonight’s Premier Division action, bottom side Finn Harps host league leaders Dundalk. Harps held the champions to a 1-1 draw in Ballybofey back in February. But Vinny Perth’s Lilywhites are in fine form, soaring to the top of the table on the back of an 11-match unbeaten run.
Skipper Keith Cowan is a doubt for Harps. Mark Coyle returns from a ban, but Caolan McAleer and Sean Boyd are both suspended. Dundalk remain without the injured Robbie Benson, Jamie McGrath, and Cameron Dummigan.
Second-placed Shamrock Rovers entertain Derry City at Tallaght Stadium looking for a fourth straight win. Ex-Derry star Aaron McEneff and Sam Bone remain out for Hoops. Manager Stephen Bradley hopes to have Sean Kavanagh back but Dylan Watts is a doubt.
Derry travel to Dublin for what will be their only game in five weeks, bookended by three matches in a week. Having unveiled new signing Darren McCauley yesterday, Derry continue without the injured Patrick McClean and Michael McCrudden. Darren Cole is a doubt. Sligo Rovers boss Liam Buckley wants a reaction to last week’s 4-0 defeat at Dundalk when his former club St Patrick’s Athletic visit the Showgrounds.
“We felt the scoreline was harsh last week,” said Buckley after their Oriel Park defeat put the brakes on a seven-match unbeaten run.
Sligo are without defender Dante Leverock who is on international duty with Bermuda. The injured Conor Clifford and fellow midfielder Jamie Lennon, away with the Republic of Ireland U21s, are absent for St Pat’s.