CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield said his league and cup winning side could be one of the all-time great League of Ireland teams, following their FAI Cup final win against Dundalk on Sunday.
City secured their first Premier Division title since 2005 last month before wrapping up a first ever double in the club’s history after defeating Dundalk on penalties at the Aviva Stadium.
Defender Niclas Vemmelund gave the Lilywhites the lead in extra-time before substitute Achille Campion drew the sides level to force penalty kicks, where the league winners prevailed.
Manager Caulfield said he felt his team had not received the credit it deserved following their first league title win in 12 years.
City claimed 64 points from their opening 22 games, however struggled in the final round of games where they won just three out of their final 11 league fixtures.
Speaking after Sunday’s cup win the City manager said that history would show the significance of his side’s achievements despite losing key players Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor to Preston, added to the absence of injured captain John Dunleavy in 2017.
“I think that, in time, it will be shown that any team that wins 21 out of the first 22 games creates history,” Caulfield said.
We lose our goalscorer, we lose our captain, we lose our left-back — three first eleven players — and we still hold on and get 15 points to win the league. And we won it with three games to go.
“We get to an FAI Cup final without Seanie Maguire and these guys and still win the cup final after going a goal down in extra-time. I mean, what guts and determination in that team.
“Maybe we’re not the fashionable team, but history will prove that this is a phenomenal team and could be one of the greatest teams ever. Time will show that.”
Caulfield joined Cork City as manager ahead of the 2014 season and is the the club’s record appearance holder, winning a league title in 1993 and an FAI Cup in 1998 in over 450 appearances between 1986 and 2001.
He reflected that Sunday’s FAI Cup win was an achievement owed to the club’s fanbase who had endured difficult times as the team teetered on the brink of extinction just seven years ago.
“We’re delighted for our supporters,” he said.
I’ve been saying since 7.00am this morning that to come up here with 10,000 people was phenomenal.
“We had 100,000 people through our gates (at Turner’s Cross) this year and when you look at what the club has come through since 2010 — that’s what this club is all about.
“To be fair to these players, we talked all week about how we had a real opportunity to make great history. When we went behind it looked a bit tricky, but we have a real grit and determination to win in this team.
Maybe there’s a feeling all year that they haven’t got the real credit they deserve for winning the league. But now winning the double is very special and we’re really looking forward to coming home tomorrow night at Grand Parade.
“We all know Cork are winners and sportspeople love winners — it’ll be a great occasion for us.”
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