WHILE Cork City were denied victory against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night, goalscorer Karl Sheppard believes that the Rebel Army’s overall performance is cause for encouragement.
A goal in the fifth minute of injury time by St Pat’s defender Simon Madden earned the home side a 1-1 draw at Richmond Park. City had taken the lead through Sheppard early in the second half and played well after a scrappy opening period.
Sheppard believes that the team can continue to improve, though.
“You can see things are progressing, but you need to learn,” he says.
“It’s a harsh league, it’s a men’s league. You saw on Friday, you switch off for a second and you get punished.
“We need to be able to see out the game really, it’s on us, so you buck up and all start rowing in the right direction.
“I think the first half was just very scrappy. Every two minutes, it was someone down with an injury or something, it was just hard to get it going.
“Once we got in our flow, I thought we were very good at times, we should have punished them, we had a three v one at one stage and we messed it up.
“Things are going better in terms of the football we’re playing, but we just ned to buck up and learn.”
What rankled with City about the Pat’s goal was that it came so late, with the fourth official having indicated that three minutes of added time would be played.
“It’s disappointing to give away a goal so late, with a very dubious amount of time added on,” Sheppard says.
“That’s what you get with some of the officials, that’s what happens.
“I think everyone was aware that the time was up. You’re looking at the clock and thinking, ‘There’s a lot added on here,’ three added on and they scored in the fifth.”
Sheppard’s goal was his second in the league this season and he believes that a corner has been turned in that regard, too.
“I’m always confident in front of goal, it was just us getting the chances,” he says.
“The more football we play, the more chances we’ll get, so hopefully a couple more will come.”
The Dubliner has to contend with staying on top of a recurring back injury.
“I’m getting there,” he says.
“I’ve an ongoing back problem, I think most people know about that, it’s just trying to manage it.
“Obviously, the less games we have, the better it is for the back.”
In that regard, City will have a break now until Friday week, when they travel to face Sligo Rovers. After four games in Dublin in the space of 12 days, the time off is welcome and Sheppard believes that interim manager John Cotter will put it go good use.
“Yeah, definitely,” he says.
“It’s been pretty hectic on the old legs and the back and the body, so it’ll be nice to just train for once, which is a plus.
“We can take a few days off, away from football and come back in and John will put his stamp on the team.”