The fickle nature of Irish football could hardly have been better illustrated this week.
While Bray Wanderers struggle to keep their head above water, their future in the League of Ireland looking increasingly precarious, Cork City are surfing a feelgood wave, riding high atop the SSE Airtricity Premier Division and heavy favourites to progress to the Europa League second round tomorrow night.
It’s a situation not lost on Cork boss John Caulfield, as he urged fans to savour the good times.
“Cork City had been in the doldrums for a long long time before FORAS saved the club, going into the First Division. To be playing European football doesn’t come around too often, you only get a couple of games a year, if you’re lucky,” said Caulfield. “It looks like sales are strong for Thursday night and the crowd will be huge. Hopefully it will because our supporters are the 12th person and we need that.”
The struggles of Bray don’t sit easy with the Cork boss, however.
“It’s unfortunate for the manager, the players of Bray, a horrible situation for them to be in. You felt the last number of years things had tightened up and clubs have been fairly thorough, so it’s a horrible position to be in.”
While Bray’s players are available, as the Seagulls look to slash the wage bill, Caulfield has ruled out trying to pick up a bargain from the Carlisle Grounds, with Kieran Sadlier’s move from Sligo his last significant transfer of the season.
“Our signing is done. We’re very happy, and that’s where we’re at. The problem the players at Bray are in is that in the middle of the season, the budgets of all the clubs are gone. I see a lot of speculation but I can’t see many of their players getting move. I can’t see any club that’s flush with money, bar Dundalk. There seems to be a situation where Limerick are looking at a few but I can’t see many unless they get rid of players so it’s not a great position for players to be in.”
Attacking midfielder Sadlier’s move to Cork from Sligo this week will be widely welcomed on Leeside as the club lose Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor to Preston at the end of the month. Tomorrow night’s game will come too early for the former Sligo man — he is likely to feature in the league clash against St Pat’s on Sunday — but Caulfield is confident he has got the right man, and not just because the former Ireland U21 has already scored twice against City this season.
“When I look at players it’s easy to play well against us — I see players raise their game against us, in front of 4,000 or 5,000 people, playing a team on top of the league. We need players who are consistent 8/10s ever week, being good one week and average for two won’t win you the league.
“You’ve got to have the right attitude. These are the type of players who we tried to get. I’ve watched Kieran a lot this year and I would see him in that mode... he’s here to win a league.”
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