League of Ireland
Cork City manager John Caulfield has backed Mark O’Sullivan to continue the fine goalscoring form which has spearheaded the side’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title challenge since the mid-season break.
O’Sullivan’s goal in the 2-0 win over Sligo Rovers last Saturday was his sixth in five games in all competitions and, ahead of tonight’s clash with Limerick at Turner’s Cross (kick-off 7.45pm), Caulfield believes that the attacker can keep contributing after a slow start to the season.
“The big thing for Mark is that, if you look at last season and where he came from, a lot of people might have said that he was a one-season wonder,” he said.
“I never felt that because he has an honesty about him, his workrate and sheer tenacity have always been there. I felt that he could always do as well as he had last year.
“Obviously, he didn’t get a lot of goals in the early part of the season but, in fairness, the team was still winning. He created a lot of goals and made a nuisance of himself. I would say that his presence took the focus off other players, allowing them to score.
“It’s great to have him back in form and let’s just hope he can keep it going.”
The game is up against the televised Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Manchester United. Caulfield doesn’t believe that the gate at the Cross will be affected tonight but next season, when there will be 10 Premier League games on Fridays, may be a different story.
“If I look at Friday night, I really don’t think so,” he said.
“Our own supporters know that we’re in the running for the league. On the bank holiday weekend, we got three and a half thousand against Bohs despite there being a lot of other attractions.
“The run-in is on and the fans know that they have to be there so we’ll still have a big crowd on Friday. Going forward, you’d have to say that there may be certain games which will affect your crowd and that’ll have to be looked at.”
With leaders Dundalk having drawn at home to Longford Town last week, the gap at the top between them and City is down to four points. Caulfield isn’t declaring it a two-horse race just yet, however, especially as St Patrick’s Athletic’s win over Shamrock Rovers last week gave them eight straight wins.
“It’s going to go the whole way,” he said. “Pat’s have had a great run, Rovers are still there and everyone still has to play each other so you can’t rule anything out.”
Dundalk will look to get back on track when they travel to the Brandywell to face Derry City, while third-placed Pat’s will go in search of nine in a row as they host Bray Wanderers. Shamrock Rovers are away to Longford Town and Sligo — now four clear of Limerick at the bottom — must go to face Drogheda United. Fifth-placed Bohemians welcome Galway United in the other game.
In the First Division, Athlone Town host troubled Waterford United, UCD are at home to Cobh Ramblers, Shelbourne face a trip to Donegal to face Finn Harps while leaders Wexford Youths host second from bottom Cabinteely.
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