Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Pace Setters
Quality not quantity the key for City as their perfect start continues
It’s still early days but the Leesiders have yet to stumble in their bid for a first title in 12 years.

Gearoid Morrissey scoring their third goal Ryan Byrne / INPHO Gearoid Morrissey celebrates after scoring Cork City's third goal against Limerick last night. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield expressed his satisfaction after his side recorded a comprehensive win over Limerick in last night’s first Munster derby of the season.

First-half goals from Sean Maguire and Garry Buckley were followed by a stunning Gearoid Morrissey strike just a minute after the restart, as City ran out 3-0 winners away to their neighbours to maintain their six-point lead at the top of the table.

Limerick made a positive start to last night’s derby at Market’s Field, but once Maguire opened the scoring with his eight goal in nine games in the 20th minute, the visitors took control.

“During the week there was a lot of talk going on about Limerick raising their game, so we had to be ready for that intensity,” Caulfield said. “The first 10 or 15 minutes was 50/50 but then we exploded. We felt we should have been further ahead at half-time because we were totally dominating the match. Our passing, movement and energy was fantastic.”

City have finished second to Dundalk in each of the last three seasons and it’s now 12 years since the Leesiders were Premier Division champions. However, they’re now favourites to end that drought after seven wins from as many games so far this season.

John Caulfield celebrates after the game Ryan Byrne / INPHO John Caulfield acknowledges the Cork City supporters at the end of the game. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

According to Caulfield, one of the main differences this year is a focus on quality over quantity when it comes to the personnel in his squad. Young striker Connor Ellis came off the bench last night, as did new signings Shane Griffin and Christian Nanetti, while Greg Bolger, John Dunleavy and Steven Beattie are still out with injuries.

“We had to cut back on our numbers to try and get a bit more quality because what we wanted to do was sort of have 16, maybe 17, [players] so that if someone is missing and someone comes in, they’re equally as good. I think you can see that,” Caulfield said.

“When you’re looking at Bolger, Dunleavy, Beattie and Kav [John Kavanagh] on the way back, all guys you’d expect to play, along with the likes of Griffin coming back in as well, so overall it’s good. But we need them back and hopefully we’ll have a few back for next week [against Derry City at Turner's Cross].

“We need more competition and more choices at the end of the day. You look at our bench tonight, we had Alec Byrne and Conor McCarthy, two of our U19s with us. So that just tells you that it is tight. We need everyone fit and ready.”

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Martin Russell dejected Ryan Byrne / INPHO Limerick manager Martin Russell cut a frustrated figure on the sideline. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Limerick manager Martin Russell said his side were undone by frustrating errors. Tony Whitehead squandered possession for the opening goal of the game, before Tommy Robson was caught napping as Buckley doubled City’s lead.

“You never deserve something if you make the mistakes that we made and give yourself that uphill task,” Russell said. “Credit to Cork, they did a professional job on us. I think if we hadn’t given away the first goal we’d have stayed in the game and maybe it could have been a different result.”

Limerick were being tipped in some quarters as outsiders for a title challenge, but Russell believes that last night’s performance was nowhere near good enough for such an aspiration.

He said: “It is the inconsistency that separates the top teams from the average teams. We knew it was going to be a competitive league. We just have to keep working at it.”

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