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LOI Kick-off

Squad, strikes and set-pieces: 5 questions for Cork City manager Tommy Dunne

The Rebels kick off their Premier Division campaign against new boys Limerick on Sunday evening.

CORK CITY KICK off the new Airtricity League season with a TV date as they travel to Thomond Park for a Munster derby against Limerick on Sunday.

Tommy Dunne’s men have already hit the ground running in Setanta Sports Cup, knocking out Cliftonville and then holders Crusaders to book their place in the semi-finals.

Ahead of Sunday’s game, we caught up with Tommy Dunne and put these questions to him.

1. How happy were you with last season?

It wasn’t so much that I was disappointed. I felt that maybe a number of opportunities behind us where we could have won games. That would have given us a better chance to be up the table.

We finished in sixth place, but we feel that as a club and as a city we need to be further up the table. We need to be more competitive. We didn’t really start the season well and we went out early in both cup competitions so we never really got an opportunity to compete for anything.

2. Is this season’s squad stronger or weaker than last year?

The players that have come in, it remains to be seen how well they settle. They’ve settled down reasonably well so far but it hasn’t really started yet so you can only really judge that as time goes on.

There’s probably three players that have gone out of the club with the likes of Gavin Kavanagh, Vinnie Sullivan and Davin O’Neill — they were three good players. Circumstances is that they’re not with us, but I know for a fact that where they have gone, they’ll do really well. In an ideal world, I would have liked to keep everyone.

I think overall the group that we have is as strong, if not better than last year. The younger players that were in our group last year have another year under their belt. They might be better equipped to tackle the Premier Division this year.

3. How much of a benefit is to have those Setanta Cup games under your belt before the league starts?

We’ve had four competitive games but that doesn’t mean anything before the season starts. We’ll be doing our best to get a better start than we did this time last season.

We had a couple of friendlies; we played Leeds and we played Longford before we went into the games themselves. We felt that once we went into the games, with the training we had done and the off-season preparation, we felt that we’d be okay and it has shown.

4. Ian Turner scored a free and a penalty in the first leg against Cliftonville — is he going to be the dead-ball specialist this season?

In fairness to him, Ian’s a lad who has worked extremely hard on his game. He stays behind and he practices set pieces and different things. If he produces the results that he did in Turner’s Cross, then by all means he’s entitled to have a go at it.

Ian over the last few years has worked hard. For people who put the time in, they get what they deserve out of it. If you’re prepared to put the time in, and Ian has, then he deserves to have a crack at all those set plays.

He’s probably settled himself down as more a wide player for us, so I wouldn’t imagine him playing too many times at full back. We’ve got quite a lot of cover. As regards an attacking option, I think he gives us that little bit more further up the pitch. Like himself, the rest of the boys were all working hard.

5. How disruptive were the rumours of a player strike to pre-season preparations?

For us, we dealt with everything in house. I think people were trying to make something out of of something that happens in every club at that time of the year, every year. For us, once our senior players came in and sat down and talked, it was never an issue.

I get the impression sometimes that there’s people out there, whether it be media or organisations, that are just trying to justify their existence sometimes. That’s what I would reckon on it. For us as a club, I don’t think there was ever an issue — players, board or anyone in the club.

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