BY DENIS HURLEY
WHILE John Caulfield has re-established Cork City as one of the top teams in the country, silverware has as yet remained elusive since his appointment as manager three years ago.
City will aim to prevent Dundalk achieving a second double in a row in Sunday’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium (3.40pm), having finished second to the Louth side in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division for the third consecutive year.
A key component in trying to win the cup for the third time, after successes in 1998 and 2007, will be striker Seán Maguire, top scorer in the league this season, who was previously with the Lilywhites. Having helped City to beat them twice in the league and in the season-opening President’s Cup, the task holds no fears.
‘We’ve played Dundalk four times this year and we’ve beaten them three times, so they’re not invincible,’ he says.
‘I was up there last year for a couple of months, it was frustrating not playing, this time last year I didn’t even make the bench for the cup final.
‘People are asking me if I’m looking forward to getting revenge but I don’t see it that way, I feel that I’ve proven my point all season.
‘John took a gamble bringing me down here and I’ve tried to repay that faith. We owe it to ourselves to bring some silverware back to Cork and we owe it to the fans as well, they deserve it for coming out in their numbers all year and I think that they’ll bring a massive crowd on Sunday.’
Dundalk come into the game off the back of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg, but Caulfield isn’t putting huge significance on the effect the travelling will have on them.
‘I don’t think it’s any disadvantage for Dundalk being in Russia, they’ll still bring their A-game,’ he says.
‘The league was won two weeks ago, they’ve been able to rest players, playing two games in four days will mean nothing to them because they’re professional players.
‘Dundalk have been phenomenal, Stephen Kenny has been in the league 14, 15 years and has won things with Bohs and Derry, they deserve all the accolades they get. ‘But our lads have been good. People dwell on the fact that we got there last year but if you look at the team playing on Sunday, there’ll be at least six changes.
‘We rebuilt this year because we realised we needed to get to a higher level and we have got to that higher level. These lads did phenomenally for myself, the management and the supporters, getting further than ever in Europe and pushing Dundalk right to the end and we’re in the cup final.
‘It’s unusual that you can bring in so many players and hit the ground running, but that’s what the lads have done. While Dundalk deserve everything they get and all the accolades, we have an opportunity on Sunday to win the cup and that’s what we’ve been working at all week.’