Ryan Byrne/INPHO John Caulfield pictured during the Dundalk-Cork match last night.
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'Dundalk have their hands on the title'
Cork manager John Caulfield admits his side are now unlikely to win the league.

CORK BOSS JOHN Caulfield admits the league title is now Dundalk’s to lose after seeing his side beaten at Oriel Park last night.

Caulfield conceded that his team were second best overall in the game, but lamented a few contentious refereeing decisions that went the hosts’ way.

“The disappointing thing from our own point of view is that Dundalk are a great side and it’s an intimidating place and there are a lot of 50:50s they seem to get,” he said. “It’s clear from the free kick for the first goal, I saw it on TV at half-time, (Patrick) McEleney lost control of the ball and he dived. It was a free kick right in the middle of the goal and Daryl (Horgan) stuck it in.

“But overall on the night, Dundalk were better. You’ve no answers for that other than to move on to Friday night.”

Having found themselves two goals down at half-time, Caulfield was pleased to see a positive reaction from his players as they tried to rescue a point from the game.

In the first half, we played well, but they were good with the ball. If you go a goal up early, with the home crowd, you’ve momentum. They lifted their game and we found it difficult to get into the match.

“At half-time, we said ‘let’s raise our game’ and we did much better second half.”

And while Dundalk now have a serious advantage as they now sit four points ahead of their title-challenging rivals with five games to go, Caulfield insists his team won’t be giving up easily.

“We’ve been playing catch up. It’s been difficult and it’s back to four (points) and they’ve their hands on the title. The most important thing for us is to make sure we push it right to the wire and you never know.

It’s been very tough with all the travelling. It is difficult, but you don’t complain. We’re used to that. All we can do is keep winning our games and see what happens, but obviously, it’s in their hands.”

And while it looks like Cork will once again have to settle for second place ultimately, Caulfield is adamant the team are improving all the time, even if they still lack experience in certain aspects of the game.

“From our point of view, we’re much closer (to Dundalk) than we have been the last two years. But at the same time, it’s frustrating for the lads.

We lack a bit of cuteness. Obviously, Dundalk are very experienced and they know how to wins frees and go down easily. A few of our bookings were soft. In the second half, Chiedozie (Ogbene), when he came on, was straight (into the action). It was a blatant free, but he tried to stay on his feet and it was given as a goal kick.

“But we have a very young team and they are still learning.”

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