Cork City boss John Caulfield has expressed his shock at the serious assault which left Waterford boss Alan Reynolds in hospital.
Gardaí arrested a man in Tramore, Co Waterford, yesterday in connection with the attack on Reynolds, who suffered facial injuries and a serious leg injury in the incident in Tramore at 1am on Sunday.
Reynolds was on Caulfield’s coaching staff at Turner’s Cross before taking over the Waterford hot-seat in 2016, and the Cork boss yesterday sent his best wishes to his opposite number.
“It seems to have been a very serious assault. It’s just the way our society is changing a bit, isn’t it?” said Caulfield. “Every day, in picking up the paper, we’re seeing assaults and people being killed. It’s the way things are gone.”
Waterford FC consultant Pat Fenlon, who has worked closely with Reynolds in the past two years, yesterday described the attack as “disgusting”.
“It’s a horrible situation, we see it all over the country on a regular basis and it’s disgusting, to be honest,” he told the Soccer Republic podcast.
Reynolds was due to undergo surgery on his leg as he recovers from his injuries and Paul Cashin, who is part of his coaching staff, is likely to be in charge as the Blues visit Turner’s Cross on Friday night.
The last league encounter between these two Munster rivals was a spicy affair, Waterford coming from behind to win 2-1, but the game is also remembered for a fracas in added time which saw four players and both Caulfield and Reynolds receiving their marching orders.
With his team chasing the game, Caulfield ran onto the pitch and tried to wrestle the ball from the Waterford bench to restart play. The Cork boss was unceremoniously pushed to the ground by Waterford midfielder Bastien Hery, sparking a huge row involving players and staff from both sides. Caulfield, Hery, Reynolds, Cork’s Steven Beattie and Garry Buckley and Waterford’s Stanley Aborah all saw red, resulting in heavy suspensions for all involved.
For his part, Caulfield says there will be no repeat performance this weekend, believing last month’s ‘Battle of the RSC’ to be an aberration and also defending his side’s overall disciplinary record.
“My discipline will be fine and we’ve a brilliant disciplinary record,” he said. “It was just one of those unfortunate incidents. We discussed it at the time. It’s long over.
“Outside that game, this season if you look at our record, this will be our 20th league game and we’ve only had Graham Cummins suspended in the first game and no-one else. That means no-one even on five bookings, which is incredible nowadays, when really you can’t tackle.”
Caulfield hopes to be close to full strength on Friday, as he expects Gearóid Morrissey, Garry Buckley, Alan Bennett, and Conor McCormack to overcome knocks and be ready for what he sees as a crucial Munster derby.
City are two points behind leaders Dundalk, but have a game in hand — Cork face Derry on Monday — while third-placed Waterford need a win to keep the pressure on the league’s ‘New Firm’.
Blues owner Lee Power is likely to invest in his squad in the transfer window, with former Irish international Noel Hunt heavily linked with a move back to the south-east.
“Waterford know if they beat us, they’re back in it,” warned Caulfield, “They will get to the break and bring in a few new players. They know the league is still within grasp. They’ve got backing, a big following. They went through a rocky patch and they seem to be over it. It’s going to be another huge game.”
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