BY DENIS HURLEY
CORK City manager John Caulfield doesn’t want the club’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win to represent an end in itself, but instead be a springboard for further silverware.
City clinched the title on Tuesday night after a 0-0 draw with Derry City moved them to 73 points, more than second-placed Dundalk can manage.
The clubs will meet in the FAI Cup final on November 5th as City look to achieve a first-ever double, and Enniskeane resident Caulfield wants the momentum to be carried on.
‘It’s great for the supporters,’ he said.
‘I was saying to the players not to let the opportunity go. This might be a purple patch in the club’s history and we may stay up there. My job as manager is to maintain that, we don’t want to rest on our laurels.
‘This club have come from no budget to getting into Europe every year. We have to continue to ensure that our standards stay high.’
City led all through the season, though a drop in form was suffered after star striker Seán Maguire and left-back Kevin O’Connor joined Preston North End in the summer.
Caulfield never took anything for granted.
‘You never count your chickens in these situations,’ he said.
‘A lot of this club’s success has gone down to the wire so it’s unusual to win with two games to go.
‘Obviously, the Dundalk game before the break was significant because it moved us 18 points clear, but I knew in the back of my head that the two boys were leaving.
‘You know there’s going to be an effect and it’s very hard to replace, you’re looking around the market place, we were close to a few and it fell through and guys were in training with us who weren’t up to it.
‘In fairness, before the two lads went, we won three games in a row and Preston had wanted them three or four weeks earlier, we were hanging on to them.’
In four years, Caulfield has never finished outside the top two, and he admits that Dundalk’s success gave City a target.
‘The first year was a bit of a rollercoaster because the budget was so small, Shane Duggan had left, Daryl Horgan had left. Did we think we’d be up at the top so close? We didn’t, no doubt about that, but at the same time we were targeting top four and Europe.
‘Last year was the first year I felt we were very close to them and the cup final win was very significant, there’s no doubt about that.
‘They set high standards but we went off at the start of this season and raised them.’