Cork City manager John Caulfield believes Irish teams have the potential to make huge strides in the Europa League and Champions League but warned club managers must first lose their “mé féin” attitude for the good of the league.
Speaking ahead of City’s SSE Airtricity League clash with Shamrock Rovers tomorrow night, Caulfield hailed the progress made in Europe last year — as Dundalk made the Europa League group stages, while Cork made the Europa League third qualifying round — but feels a change of attitude can help make this a regular occurrence.
“European results have proved positive not only last year but if you go back to 2011 and Shamrock Rovers under Michael O’Neill, European results have been decent,” said Caulfield. “We just need to go to another level. We need to change perception.
“I’m blue in the face from talking about promoting our league. Our print media coverage of our league is phenomenal. TV coverage of the league is awful. We’re one of the only leagues is Europe that doesn’t have a regular televised game every week and something’s going to have to give very shortly.
“We need investment and we need a couple of people employed solely in running the league who are League of Ireland people, who are passionate about the league and who know what needs to be done.
“We can’t just toddle along as we have done for 40 years.”
Caulfield cited the success of Connacht Rugby as an example for what could be done. “Fifteen years ago their own association didn’t want them (the IRFU proposed disbanding Connacht in 2003 to save money). But they weren’t going to take it lying down and the whole region turned it around, turned themselves into a phenomenal team. That was hard work and determinaton, then getting money and sponsorship.
“People in League of Ireland need to work together. This mé féin attitude is rubbish. it’s not about one club over another. People need to work together to do what’s right.”
City go into tomorrow’s clash with Rovers at Turner’s Cross with injury doubts hanging over several players, including Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard, Stephen Beattie, and Gearóid Morrissey.
As the mid-season break looms next month, City could become a flurry of transfer activity. Sean Maguire looks increasingly likely to seal a €150,000 move to Preston. Ryan Delaney, on loan from English Championship side Burton, is close to signing a permanent deal on Leeside.
One man certain to leave Turner’s Cross is Latvian U21 defender Rimvydas Sadauskas, who is returning to his home club Stumbras, having failed to break into the set-up. Stressing he hopes to promote from the underage ranks, Caulfield won’t rule out more new faces arriving into the club in the coming weeks. “We’re always on the lookout to strengthen our squad to see if there’s someone who can make us that bit better,” he said.
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