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Friday 23 February 2018

'Pressure on Lilywhites to stop us' - Bennett

Cork City’s Alan Bennett
Cork City’s Alan Bennett

Cork City believes that the pressure is on their opponents, Dundalk, in Sunday's FAI Cup final.

It's honours even in terms of major trophies this term as Cork have landed the Premier Division title, after a three-year residence in Dundalk, while the Lilywhites won the EA Sports Cup.

Cork City have never won a double, as they were denied that in 2005 in losing the FA Cup to Drogheda when they had already been crowned league champions and while the double would be most welcome, City defender Alan Bennett feels the onus is on their opponents on Sunday.

"The pressure is on them to stop us. We're the league champions, we are the team with the league title, but it's a 50/50 game," says Bennett, who has now won two league medals with his hmetown club.

"The last two finals have been so close, it'd be different if we were heading into a final against a new team but we know each other's game inside out. and it really does dome down to one bit of quality.

"Richie Towell did it in the first game, Seanie Maguire did it last year and hopefully it will be a Cork City player this year."

The City camp have been angered at times by suggestions that they "crept" over the line in terms of seeing out their title bid, and Bennett feels that their 1-1 draw at home to Dundalk in September is still relevant.

"If your confidence isn't flying high after winning a league title, it never will be.

"And in that last series of games, that Dundalk home game, was big for this new group of players, we were just seeing the games through but that was a big game for us,

for this group of players to know that we are flying high and we are the team to beat," he added.

At 36, the former Ireland international is the most experienced player in the City squad, but he is keen to stick around for another year and a tilt at the Champions League in 2018, Bennett in no rush to leave Turner's Cross.

It's up to John Caulfield but we have conceded 23 goals, the best defensive record in the league, me and the defending unit and the goalkeeping union have been part of and I feel I am contributing. I want to stay and I feel I am contributing," he added.

Cork expect to have an even larger support than usual for Sunday's final as Cork City also compete in the final of the Women's FAI Cup final, taking on UCD Waves (kick-off 12 noon).

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