CORK City interim manager John Cotter believes that Seán McLoughlin isn’t affected by speculation over his future.
In the past week, it has been reported that Preston North End and Portsmouth have shown interest in the defender, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
On Friday night, McLoughlin and his City colleagues were denied victory as Simon Madden struck for a late St Patrick’s Athletic equaliser at Richmond Park, but Cotter believes that the Rebel Army were denied a deserved victory.
“If it is a distraction, he didn’t show it on Friday because I thought he was brilliant,” he says.
“Obviously, when players are doing well in this league, they’ll always have a bit of interest in them.
“Seán is no different to any other player in the league that way. In fairness to him, he has kept his head down, he’s done his work and he has been outstanding.”
Madden’s goal came in the 95th minute, despite three minutes of injury time being announced at the end of the second half.
“It’s gutting to drop points like that,” Cotter says.
“I thought the boys deserved three points, I thought we rightly should have won the match, to be fair. I thought we were robbed, to be honest.
“I understand the sub adds on a small bit of time, but it was still a minute-15, a minute-20 over. The referee puts his whistle into his mouth when the ball goes back to [Pat’s goalkeeper] Brendan Clarke and then takes it out and gives them another chance to get it up, which isn’t good enough.
“It’s a professional league, players are working hard every day, scrapping for points – not just us but every team and I think it’s not good enough. I think people need to stand up and be counted that way.”
Cotter said that referee Ben Connolly didn’t offer any reasoning for the increase in added time.
“No, that’s the easy part for them, because they don’t have to come out and explain themselves,” he says.
“That’s wrong as well, to be honest, when you have fellas scrapping for points, who deserve three points. The one Brendan Clarke strikes at the end, it’s probably the first header we didn’t win. Could we have defended it better and tracked the run? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t fault any of the boys, I thought they were brilliant.”
Alongside McLoughlin, Conor McCarthy was immense in defence for City, who produced a positive second-half performance after a lacklustre first half, with Karl Sheppard scoring soon after the restart.
“I thought in the second half we were very good, for 25 minutes anyway,” Cotter says.
“I know Pat’s put on a lot of pressure late on, which you’d expect, but the lads defended very well.
“Conor and Seán were outstanding, as well as the two full-backs, and we had a couple of chances to get a second. When it comes to this stage, it’s disappointing not to take it but everyone was outstanding and they worked very hard.”
With the game against Waterford, originally scheduled for next Sunday, having been postponed due to international call-ups, City aren’t in action again until the game at Sligo Rovers on Friday, June 14.
It gives a chance to recharge, but Cotter would prefer if they were going into their break on the back of a win.
“After that, sometimes you’d like a game the next week, a chance to go out and put it right,” he says.
“At least the boys can take a couple of days off, which is well-deserved because they’ve had a heavy schedule.
“They deserve their few days off, it’s just a pity that they’re not doing it after a win. It’s just something we have to deal with and get on with and try to put it right next week.”
The time off will allow recuperation for Graham Cummins, who wasn’t involved in the matchday squad on Friday.
“He was just carrying a knock,” Cotter says.
“Karl was outstanding, to be fair. He gives you that bit of movement as well and he got the goal as well, so all is good that way.”