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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019
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'Why aren't they marketing their clubs?' - Cork boss says 'the boat is being missed in Dublin'

John Caulfield: “We are the biggest club in the league.”

Cork City FC manager John Caulfield.
Cork City FC manager John Caulfield.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard

SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE attendances aren’t healthy in Dublin and the clubs need to work harder to rectify the problem.

That’s the verdict of Cork City manager John Caulfield, whose side took on Premier Division champions Dundalk at Turner’s Cross on Friday night in front of a capacity crowd of 6,900.

Once again, City have had the best attendances in the league so far this season. In their five home Premier Division games since the campaign began — two of which were midweek fixtures against sides in the bottom-half of the table at the time — the Leesiders have attracted average crowds of 4,453 — the highest in the league.

Although his team finished second-best on Friday against Dundalk, Caulfield knows it was a good night for the SSE Airtricity League’s image, as the RTÉ cameras were at Turner’s Cross for a live broadcast of a game between two talented teams in front of a packed stadium.

“We’ve had huge crowds all year,” said Caulfield. “We are the biggest club out there. Historically, [Shamrock] Rovers have won more trophies, but we are the biggest club in the league and without the provincial teams — I keep saying this — this league is nowhere. We need Galway to do well, we need Limerick, we need Sligo, we need Derry… because without those clubs you’re going nowhere.

“I get disappointed when I watch a lot of the games in Dublin because I look at the teams getting 1,200, 1,300, 1,400 people and they’re near the top of the table. And I’m saying, why aren’t they marketing their club? Why aren’t they bringing kids to their games? Bar Rovers, there’s no one in Dublin who attracts crowds anymore, which is very, very disappointing.

“Now, people may say, you’re down in Cork and you’re one club for the city. But Dublin has four-times the population. Clubs are in massive areas where there’s a huge, huge population. It’s disappointing.”

Cork City’s last trip to Dublin saw a crowd of 1,728 turn up at Richmond Park for their scoreless draw with St Patrick’s Athletic earlier this month.

Caulfield added: “I feel at times that the boat is being missed in the League of Ireland around Dublin, in the sense that you come out to the country areas — you go down to Sligo, you come here — and you see the passion, you see the crowds. Without those clubs, there’s no crowds around.

inpho_00925470 A packed Turner's Cross played host to Cork City versus Dundalk on Friday night.

“It was great that RTÉ covered the match but I’d love if our matches were covered every week. Because I believe it’s a fantastic league. At some point, some marketing person is going to walk in and say, I can move that league to a different level and create a different image out there. I certainly believe it’s there but, look it, maybe people are saying that for 40 years and they might be saying it for the next 40.

“I don’t know, but I’m passionate about it. We’ve been averaging on Friday nights over 5,000, so it just shows that there’s a fantastic following for the League of Ireland and I suppose there’s a fantastic following for this team.”

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Paul Dollery

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