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Dublin: 5°C Friday 7 May 2021

How runaway leaders Cork City can rewrite the history books

The Leesiders could break a number of all-time records this season.

The Cork City players.
The Cork City players.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CORK CITY HAVE steamrolled the opposition in the 2017 League of Ireland campaign and only an unlikely run of poor form and some rotten luck will deny them the Premier Division title.

Yes, they have lost John Dunleavy to injury and Seanie Maguire will soon depart for Preston North End with Kevin O’Connor expected to follow.

However, not only do the Leesiders possess a squad capable of keeping their season on track, they can potentially make it a record-breaking one.

Various records — relating to points, scoring and victories — are there to be broken and considering the form Cork are in there’s good reason to think the history books may need some rewriting.

City won their first 12 games of the league season before suffering a shock 1-1 draw away to basement side Galway United. They had been chasing Bohemians’ record of 15 straight wins from the start of a League of Ireland campaign set back in the 1923/24 season.

13 ultimately proved unlucky but there are other milestones within the club’s reach.

They won the four games immediately after that draw and then beat Limerick in the first game back after the mid-season break — leaving them on 17 wins at present.

11 more would see them pass Bohs’ record of 27 wins in a season from 2008. The Gypsies also amassed a record 85 points that year having lost just two games and drawn four. City are already more than halfway to that total after taking 52 points so far.

Cork haven’t been beaten so far in the league this year and if they avoid defeat all season it would mean matching the feat of Shamrock Rovers, who didn’t lose once throughout both the 1924/25 and 1926/27 campaigns.

However, it’s important to point out that back then there were only 10 teams in the single-division league and clubs played just 18 games as opposed to 33 in the top-tier of 2017.

In such cases, it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

Though if City could stay unbeaten it would be a much greater achievement given the greater number of games. Even one loss would match Dundalk’s Premier Division record of two years ago over 33 games and Shamrock Rovers’ achievement in 1986/87 over 22 games.

Cork have conceded just nine goals so far this term while that Bohs side from 2008 conceded 13 over their 33 matches.

Before the break, City had conceded eight goals and would have had to keep the opposition scoreless in every game until the end of season to match the feat of St James’ Gate in 1921/22. In that very first season of the league, ‘Gate’ conceded just eight goals – though that was over only 14 games.

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Apples and oranges I hear you shout! Anyway, Tosi’s penalty for Limerick has seen that possibility ended.

The ‘goals scored’ column also looks healthy with 52 netted so far. The record currently stands at 78 and was set by Dundalk two season ago. Overtaking it is a distinct possibility regardless of the loss of hotshot Maguire, albeit not until the end of July.

The individual Premier Division scoring record is 25 goals — achieved by Glen Crowe in 2000-01, Jason Byrne in 2004 and Richie Towell in 2015. Maguire currently has 18 and will surely add to that total before he departs for Preston. And who would have bet against him bettering that record had he not earned a deserved transfer to the Championship?

Indeed, he could have gone after the all-time League of Ireland individual record of most goals in a season. It stands at 37 and was achieved by Jimmy Turnbull of Cork FC in 1935/36, over just 22 games.

The President’s Cup and Munster Senior Cup are already in the trophy cabinet. The league trophy will surely join them and there’s a League Cup semi-final to come along with an FAI Cup to defend.

Many City fans are talking of a clean sweep and who would blame them.

Cork City’s Premier Division record after 18 games:

18 17 1 0 52 9 52

Current League of Ireland records that Cork City could equal or break:

  • Most points in a season: 85 — Bohemians in 2008
  • Most wins in a season: 27 — Bohemians in 2008
  • Most goals in a season: 78 — Dundalk in 2015
  • Least defeats in a season: 0 — Shamrock Rovers in 1924-25 and 1926-27 (22 games)
  • Least Premier Division defeats in a season: 1 — Dundalk in 2015 (33 games), Shamrock Rovers in 1986-87 (22 games)

Current scoring records:

  • Most individual LOI goals in a season: 37 Jimmy Turnbull of Cork FC in 1935-36
  • Most individuals Premier Division goals in a season: 25 Glen Crowe in 2000-01; Jason Byrne in 2004 and Richie Towell in 2015

Records currently jointly held by Cork City:

  • Most home Premier Division wins in a season: 14 (from 17 games in 2016) — Held with two others
  • Most home Premier Division points in a season: 44 (from 17 games in 2016) – Held with two others, though Shamrock Rovers earned 46 home points in the 2006 First Division
  • Least home Premier Division defeats: 0 (from 15 games in 2006 and from 16 games in 1991-92) – Held with five others
  • Least defeats in a First Division season: 1 (from 30 games in 2011) – Held with four others over fewer games
  • Least away defeats in a First Division season: 0 (from 15 games in 2011) — Held with two others

Stats compiled with thanks to the FAI’s Media Guide 2017

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