Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO
# Best of Enemies
'There was a lot of rubbish said and certain things were totally lies': Caulfield slams Dundalk
The Cork City boss had little time for Stephen Kenny’s comments ahead of the FAI Cup final.

CORK CITY BOSS John Caulfield has hit out at the ‘rubbish’ and ‘lies’ that dominated headlines ahead of last weekend’s FAI Cup final against Dundalk.

The Leesiders claimed a penalty shootout victory at the Aviva Stadium to secure their very first league and cup double.

But the build-up was marred by some back-and-forth involving both clubs.

Veteran goalkeeper Mark McNulty was filmed during City’s league celebrations chanting ‘Fuck the Lilywhites’ and in the days leading up to the cup decider, Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny branded the behaviour as ‘out of the gutter’.

He also claimed that when Caulfield’s side beat Dundalk in the 2016 final, his captain, Stephen O’Donnell, was taunted by City players in a phone call made to him after the game.

At the same press conference, Kenny also commented on his pursuit of City’s Karl Sheppard, who had been linked with a move to their bitter rivals.

“I’m not going to put him in an awkward situation but it’s not something I’m going to deny either at this stage. I’m not going to lie to you.”

But Sheppard subsequently signed a new two-year deal with City and isn’t going anywhere.

Speaking to Newstalk’s Off The Ball on Wednesday night, Caulfield outlined how crucial it was for his players to ignore the mind games that bubbled to the surface before the cup clash and criticised Dundalk for their part in it.

“What I wanted to make sure during the week was that our guys weren’t side-tracked by anything that was said or anything like that and there was a lot of rubbish said and certain things that were said which were totally lies,” he said.

“Why would you leak that our player has signed for the other team four days before the cup final? Stuff like that. The most important thing for me with the players was to ignore everything and get all their concentration ready for the game.”

Caulfield was also quizzed on Kenny’s allegations regarding his skipper and City players taunting him last year.

“That 100% didn’t happen”, Caulfield said.

“Stephen O’Donnell will verify that. He’ll confirm that because he’s a gentleman”.

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