CORK City captain John Dunleavy has his sights set firmly on a league title charge this season.
The Ballybofey man – starting his fifth season with Cork – captained the club to a 2-0 President’s Cup win over 2015 double champions Dundalk last Saturday afternoon, and he believes that City are in a good position to challenge for the big prizes this year.
This was City’s first piece of silverware since they won the First Division title in 2011 and it also ended a run of nine games without a win against Dundalk, so it was the perfect boost ahead of the league opener against Bohemians this Friday night.
Last year saw Cork City finish second in the league for the second season in a row, while they lost the cup final against Dundalk, but some good transfer business over the last few months has strengthened John Caulfield’s squad.
‘For a club of our size and with the squad we have at the moment, we have to be fighting it out for silverware on all fronts,’ captain Dunleavy said.
‘We have been very close over the last few years and it’s been disappointing to not pick something up but the squad we have at the moment is the strongest that we have had in the four years that I have been here.
‘We have been pushing for the league the last few seasons and we came out the wrong end in the cup final last year, but we need to use those experiences as a motivation this season, so when the big games come around, we know how to deal with them and the occasion. If we do that, I have no doubt we’ll be right up there and we’ll be a formidable force this season.’
The return of Gearoid Morrissey and Ian Turner, and the addition of Sean Maguire, Stephen Dooley and midfielder Greg Bolger leaves City in a strong place heading into the 2016 campaign, while Kenny Browne and Eoin O’Connell have all linked up with Cork City.
The Leesiders kick off their league campaign at home to Bohemians this Friday night (March 4th) at 7.45pm, and Dunleavy wants Cork City to make Turner’s Cross ‘a fortress’ this season.
‘There is nowhere like Turner’s Cross to play football. The atmosphere and the fans that we have are absolutely brilliant,’ the City captain said.
‘It’s important that we put on a good performance on Friday in front of our home fans and show them that the hard work we have been putting in over the pre-season has us in good shape for the year ahead.
‘We want to make Turner’s Cross a fortress again, starting this Friday night.’