A deep knowledge of and interest in Cork City and the wider Leeside sporting scene are the qualities with which John Caulfield will associate Pat McAuliffe.
The journalist and referee died on Monday and was strongly associated with City and Cobh Ramblers. Caulfield knew McAuliffe well and feels he has left a lasting memory.
“The thing about Pat was that he was passionate about Cork sport,” he says.
“He had incredible knowledge of the game and Cork City. He told me many stories and would bring up matches from 20, 25 years ago, games you would have forgotten about, and he’d name the team out.
“Obviously, he was steeped in other games too but from our point of view he was a great supporter of the club and a lovely fella.
“He was never afraid to voice his opinion and have a good argument with you but at the same time everyone got on great with him. From a club point of view, it’s a desperate loss to Christine and his brother, we’ll all miss him because he was a really good guy and a great football man.
“He was at the U19 game on Sunday. Unfortunately, we hear about these tragedies too often. The big thing about Pat was that he left so many memories for all Cork sport, particularly Cork City and Cobh Ramblers.”
On the field, City will look to bounce back from last Friday’s loss to Dundalk as they entertain Premier Division leaders Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross tomorrow night.
At Oriel Park and in Monday’s EA Sports Cup win over Ramblers, Caulfield used Shane Griffin, normally a left-back, on the left side of midfield. It’s something that he is looking at with a view to the longer term.
“We’re looking at it as an option, because we have a number of injuries,” he says.
“Unfortunately, we lost Dáire and James was out as well. We’re looking at Griff because he’s very skilful, very pacey. He probably needs to be a bit more adventurous, so we’re looking at that, maybe giving us an option further down the line as well.
“During the season, you will have injuries and suspensions and you need more options.”
Another left-sided player, Darragh Rainsford, missed the Ramblers game after scoring in the Munster Senior Cup final win over Midleton ten days previously.
“Darragh Rainsford was sick,” Caulfield says.
“He was in the team to play and at lunchtime he just wasn’t feeling well. It’s just one of those things, it was unfortunate for him after playing against Midleton and scoring, he was really anxious to play.”
Someone else who is no doubt anxious is on-loan attacker Matthew Gillam. He has been ruled out since joining from Rochdale but Caulfield is optimistic that he will get a chance soon.
“Matthew’s back,” he says.
“He’s in training for the rest of the week. Will he be playing Friday night, I would think it’s probably too soon but he’s been back with Rochdale for about ten days.
“They’ve said he’s fully fit so we’ll have him in and probably he’ll be involved from next week on.”