Bolger: We always knew it was going to be tough

When Cork City pitched up at Dalymount Park for their 30th league game of this 2017 campaign it marked four years to the very day since he had claimed the title with St Patrick’s Athletic thanks to a 2-0 win over Sligo Rovers in Inchicore.

Bolger will still double up on league medals at some point this season, most likely tonight when Cork face Derry City at Turner’s Cross needing just one point to seal the deal, but the manner in which they have done it contrasts sharply with 2013.

That win for Pats over Sligo, the reigning champions at the time, was the 13th game on the spin without defeat for Liam Buckley’s side.

Cork, though, have lost four of their last nine league games, claiming just 11 points from 27 in the process.

There is no hint of panic or hair-pulling. Their turbo-charged start to the season provided the sort of lead and comfort blanket that was always going to see them through and manager John Caulfield’s public persona has been one of calm and detachment.

And inside the dressing-room? What did the gaffer have to say in Dalymount three evenings ago after the win City needed to finally shake Dundalk off their tail was stymied by a game and dangerous Bohs side seeking the result they needed to make their top-tier status safe?

“John came in and the lads were frustrated but he has had a word with everyone and said ‘look, it’s a point towards it and we still have three games to win the league,” said Bolger.

“We wanted to win it (on Friday) but it wasn’t to be’. Everyone is positive. It’s gone, it’s done. We’re in a great position. We have three games to win the league and all we need is a point. Happy days. We keep going.

"We knew it was going to be tough even though we were so far ahead. The same 12, 13, 14 lads have been playing. There are tired bodies after that but if we play like we did Friday with the same commitment and desire we’ll be fine.”

He insists there is no room for doubt.

There shouldn’t be. Not with three games to play and just one point required to claim the club’s third title, but the reduced goal threat since Sean Maguire swapped the Premier Division for Preston North End is obvious. Bolger did his best to play it down.

“We probably didn’t create as much (against Bohemians) but look at the Limerick game when we got beat 2-1. I thought we created six, seven, eight chances and we just couldn’t score. It would be a different story if we weren’t creating chances.

"It was a bit different (on Friday), a bit to and fro and not many chances. A bit scrappy, but in other games we have created a good few chances, like against Dundalk.

"We would be worried if we weren’t creating those chances. Hopefully someone can be a hero (tonight).”


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