BY DENIS HURLEY
WHILE his achievements in 2017 are still being celebrated, Cork City manager John Caulfield already has his sights set on building on this year’s success next season.
Earlier this week, the Enniskeane resident was named as the Philips Lighting Manager of The Month for October, having guided City a first League of Ireland Premier Division title in 12 years before then seeing his side overcome Dundalk in a penalty shootout at the Aviva Stadium to complete league and FAI Cup double.
Caulfield has signalled his commitment to helped City to win more silverware by signing up for another two years, having been appointed at the end of the 2013 season.
In addition, he has disproved theories that City will be weakened on the field by securing many of this year’s stars on new deals as well as signing a host of top players from around the league.
Veteran goalkeeper Mark McNulty – who made the crucial save in the cup final shootout – defender Alan Bennett and midfielders Gearóid Morrissey, Conor McCormack and Jimmy Keohane have all renewed for another two years as City look to move towards full-year contracts for players. As well, attacker Karl Sheppard, who had been heavily linked with a move to Dundalk ahead of the cup final, opted to remain with the Rebel Army after discussions with Caulfield.
With defender Ryan Delaney having returned to Burton Albion following his loan stay with City, reinforcements have been acquired in the form of Sligo Rovers’ Tobi Adebayo Rowling, Colm Horgan of Galway United and Derry City’s Aaron Barry.
Midfielder Barry McNamee, also formerly of Derry, will give the midfield an extra dimension and St Patrick’s Athletic forward Josh O’Hanlon will provide competition for places up front as Caulfield insists the recruitment drive isn’t over yet – another centre-forward, essentially a replacement for Seán Maguire, is thought to be the primary target for the double winners.
‘We have tried to do a lot of work very quickly this year,’ he said.
‘A lot of players indicated that they wanted to come to Cork City and we had to make sure that the players we brought in were the right ones to fit in with the group that is here.
‘The squad is shaping up quickly and, over the next couple of weeks, we hope to have finalised the majority of the team.’