Cork City manager John Caulfield reflected on some memorable European nights that created a lot of positivity around the club as he accepted a Southside & District Sports Award yesterday.
But he admits there is a lot to be done before his side can progress to the group stages of a European competition.
“It’s very difficult if you’re playing teams that are at a higher level but it’ll give those boys experience and show them if you perform on the night you could beat any of those sides.
“You must be right on the night. The most important thing is winning your first round and seeing where it takes you after that. Then you see can you get to group stages but there’s still a lot of work to do on that front,” Caulfield said at the Cork International Hotel.
Receiving his award, the 51-year-old was quick to acknowledge his “hard- working” management team, paying special tribute to former City keeper, now club goalkeeping coach, Phil ‘Biscuits’ Harrington, whose overnight shift as a postman finishes at 5.30am. This affords him a few hours’ sleep before training begins at 10am.
“It shows the commitment. We have a lot of people who have their own jobs and they work around themselves to be there at training. Phil is the typical example: He works overnight and comes in in the morning. We all have to pull our weight and everyone works really hard but we all get a buzz out of it.
“The main thing is everyone is enthusiastic to do it and the fact that the lads get results and do well in Europe as well as challenging for leagues and titles means the management gets a kick out of that. It’s not a chore, they’re just buying into the team. Everyone does everything they can.
“I’m accepting on behalf of the club so I want to acknowledge my management team who do an awful lot of the work. And the players who all pull together, they are the one who get the results. So I don’t see it as an individual award I see it as a club award really.”
City sit 10 points behind Dundalk in the Premier Division and face a daunting FAI Cup semi-final trip to St Patrick’s Athletic next month.
Caulfield believes silverware is still within reach. “[St Pat’s] are one of the biggest budget clubs in Ireland after Dundalk,” he said.
“A semi-final cup game at home? They’ll fancy themselves. But we hope we can get to the cup final and win the league. We know that we’ll have to win the majority of the matches to stand a chance.
“Dundalk are a great side and people say they’re unbeatable. But we’re hoping we can push them to the wire and hopefully nick it. Time will tell.”
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