herald

Wednesday 20 June 2018

We are worthy champions: John

Cork City 0 Derry City 0

Cork City players and supporters celebrate winning the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last night at Turners Cross
Cork City players and supporters celebrate winning the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last night at Turners Cross

John Caulfield says his Cork City side deserve their status as newly-crowned champions of Ireland after they ended a 12-year wait for a league title last night.

A 0-0 draw at home to Derry City, their second scoreless draw in five days, was not the most glamorous of games but the point gained at home to a dogged Derry side was enough to make sure of the title for Cork, with two games to spare.

"It's deserved, over the course of the season," boss Caulfield said after the draw made sure of that title success.

"Our form in the first half of the season was phenomenal, then it was all about managing it and we have done it with two games to go. Dundalk have been phenomenal champions, a great manager and great players, but we felt that after winning the Cup last year we could go to another level this year, we had to raise our standards.

"We lost three players in the course of the season, one of them an Ireland international, which wasn't easy.

"The other teams threw everything at us and over the course of the season we took six or more points off every team, that's the stat that matters.

"I didn't think it would take two 0-0 draws to get us over the line but we have done it.

"The fans have been 12 years wait for this and they have been outstanding," added Caulfield, a league winner as a player with the club in 1993.

Cork's superb form in the first half of the season had disappeared of late and they finished the season with just one win from their last seven games.

But this 0-0 draw at home to Derry last night was enough for them to seal the deal and land their first league title since the Kevin Doyle era of 2005.

That season, Cork sold their main striker (Doyle) to a cross-channel club and went on to win the Premier Division, landing it on the last day of the season but at least in 2017 the City side sealed the deal with two games to spare.

The draw last night was of great interest to players and supporters of St Patrick's Athletic as the Saints are next up for Cork, in Dublin on Friday.

Liam Buckley was in Turner's Cross to see Cork in the flesh last night and the Saints will strongly hope that the City squad enjoy some celebrations for the rest of the week to leave them slightly out of sorts for that game in Inchicore on Friday, Pat's still battling relegation.

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