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Dublin: 5°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Caulfield says Cummins aggrieved by red card that rules him out of Munster derby

The striker will now miss Friday’s clash with his former club Waterford after a dramatic night in Inchicore.

CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield looks set to be faced with a shortage of attacking options for next Friday night’s clash with Waterford at Turner’s Cross.

Graham Cummins will be suspended for the visit of his former club to Leeside after he was shown a straight red card during last night’s game at Richmond Park, where City began their Premier Division title defence with a dramatic 3-2 win over St Patrick’s Athletic.

Graham Cummins scores a goal Cummins scored to put Cork City 2-0 in front against St Pat's. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

After his volley had put the defending champions 2-0 up in Inchicore — Barry McNamee opened the scoring in the third minute — Cummins was later dismissed by referee Rob Harvey for an apparent elbow on Kevin Toner in the 26th minute.

“He does,” said Caulfield, when asked if Cummins felt aggrieved by the sending-off. “But I haven’t seen it so we’ll have to watch it. We were surprised but we’ll just have to see it.”

The 30-year-old striker, who returned for a second spell with City over the winter after leaving St Johnstone, netted for the second time in as many competitive games. He was also on the scoresheet in Sunday’s 4-2 President’s Cup win over Dundalk.

With Cummins set to serve a minimum one-match ban and Josh O’Hanlon currently sidelined due to injury, Karl Sheppard is likely to move in from the right wing to lead City’s attack against the newly-promoted Blues, who marked their return to the top flight with a 2-1 home win over Derry City last night.

Caulfield’s dearth of strikers was in evidence last night on his substitutes’ bench, which consisted of a goalkeeper, five defenders and one midfielder.

According to Caulfield, that midfielder changed the game at a stage when his team looked like they’d do well to escape with one point, let alone all three. Having taken a knock in the win against Dundalk, the influential Gearoid Morrissey was left out of the team last night but was sprung from the bench for the final 24 minutes.

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John Caulfield Cork City manager John Caulfield. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

At that point, Pat’s were back on level terms thanks to a first-half own goal from Aaron Barry and a Conan Byrne strike within a minute of the restart. The home side were dominating possession and the Leesiders were camped inside their own half. Kieran Sadlier’s 82nd-minute goal, which came directly from a corner, proved decisive.

“We were giving the ball away and weren’t keeping it,” said Caulfield. “We have really good players but we were hasty and rushing and needed composure to get back on the ball. When Morrissey came in, he told the boys to push on and start intercepting a lot more, getting a bit more control in the game.

“You could see at least we might catch them on the break and we started getting a few frees in the area and they were making a few last-ditch challenges. It was just that we were pinned back and we couldn’t get out. We backed off too much.

“That’s why Morrissey coming on definitely changed the game for us. That’s why I felt in the position that we were in to pull out the result was real spirit and determination from the lads. Some days like that after everything is going brilliant for 25 minutes, you have to roll up your sleeves and make tackles.

“At one stage at 2-2, [Shane] Griffin made an unbelievable block. You need that. As I keep saying, you can close your eyes and forget about it and go home, lose 3-2 and say ‘well we had a man sent off’, or you can dig in and get a result and that’s what we did.”

Pat’s controlled the game after Cummins was given his marching orders but the Saints were ultimately unable to make their numerical advantage count as they slipped to an opening-day defeat for the fourth season on the trot.

Tempers flare after the final whistle Cork City's Karl Sheppard and Conan Byrne of St Patrick's Athletic clashing after the game. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“I think our goals were exceptional,” Caulfield said. “We looked like we were in total control of the game. The decision to go 11 versus 10 — to be fair to Pat’s, they started knocking it around and stretching us and we conceded a goal ourselves, an OG. It was poor defending and in the second half we gave them a goal straight away.”

After admitting that his team were hanging on at times, Caulfield added: “We were too deep and we just had to push up enough. They were in control of the game and we just couldn’t get out of our half. We made a change, bringing [Gearoid] Morrissey in to get up the pitch, get 20 yards further up and told the lads to press on because we still felt that we might get a chance in the game. That’s what happened.

“We had to push up, it put them under a bit more pressure and stopped us from being camped in. Then obviously Sadlier put in a tremendous corner which is hard to defend, so obviously you’re happy to go away with three points then.”

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Paul Dollery

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