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Dublin: 16°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

'It's gone' - Cork City boss Caulfield concedes league title to Dundalk

A 3-1 loss away to St Patrick’s Athletic has left the Leesiders seven points adrift of Stephen Kenny’s men.

Caulfield at Richmond Park.
Caulfield at Richmond Park.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield has conceded that Dundalk have virtually secured their third league title in-a-row after his side slipped up at St Patrick’s Athletic last night.

The result leaves Cork seven points behind Stephen Kenny’s men with three games to play and Caulfield doesn’t believe that his side can catch the Lilywhites now.

“It’s gone, there’s no doubt about that,” the Rebels boss admitted.

“With that gap, it’s too much. There’s no way at this stage that Dundalk will let that lead slip. I expect a massive reaction on Friday night though. I expect changes and the guys that come in to give themselves a real opportunity for the cup final.”

Last week’s loss to Dundalk was the most significant result in the title race and Caulfield maintains that defeat for his team effectively put the league crown back in the hands of the reigning champions.

“I keep saying there’s no point in making excuses and going around feeling sorry for each other but from our own point of view, psychologically, the defeat of last Tuesday was enormous because Dundalk beat (Shamrock) Rovers well and everyone knew that it was last Tuesday really where it was left behind.

“Are there games that we could look back over of the course of the season? To be fair, it was down to that game last week.

The bottom line is that we know how great a team Dundalk are, they’ve set an incredible standard. Year on year we’ve got closer so we’re a bit frustrated because we’ve a different team this year. We’ve seven players we didn’t have last year so to win something, we can see, is difficult.”

The Leesiders do still have a chance of beating the Louth side to silverware this season though with Caulfield already turning his attention to next month’s FAI Cup decider at the Aviva Stadium.

“Obviously it’s over now so we have to refocus for the next couple of games. We’ve quite a few lads on the bench who are looking for opportunities for the cup final so it gives them an opportunity over the next week.

“We have three games which is great because we’ve a few guys with suspensions coming up but more importantly there’s a couple lads on the bench who aren’t happy so it gives them a real opportunity to come back in with three good matches. It gives you that choice to bring in a few lads and freshen up and see how they get on.”

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