Returning O’Connor will have a key role this season for City

Returning O’Connor will have a key role this season for City
Kevin O'Connor fires home a free-kick against Dundalk. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

CORK CITY manager John Caulfield feels that the newly re-signed Kevin O’Connor will be an important asset for the coming season – possibly more so in midfield than at left-back.

O’Connor, on loan from Preston North End, who signed him from City in 2017, excelled in defence for the Rebel Army but impressed after coming on as a sub in Saturday evening’s 2-1 President’s Cup defeat to Dundalk at Turner’s Cross, scoring a fine goal from a free kick.

“You need energy in your team and you need pace,” Caulfield said.

“Certainly, Kevin has been a coup. Obviously, Peter Ridsdale in Preston gave him back to me, we had been talking for a couple of weeks about it and Kevin is delighted to be here.

“He’s a super footballer, straightaway when he went to the middle of the park he controlled the game with his movement.

Kevin O'Connor and Alan Bennett. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Kevin O'Connor and Alan Bennett. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

“The disappointment was that in the first half, we didn’t play enough. We didn’t give enough options, enough angles, we didn’t make the pitch big enough.

“In the second half, we did that and Dundalk found it difficult to press us and put us under pressure. That’s a part of our game that we need to develop more and the lads will do that.

“Overall, there were a lot of positives but some negatives too. 

"There’s a lot of work to do but in the second half we played well.” 

First-half goals from Dane Massey and Patrick Hoban gave Dundalk a lead that City couldn’t cancel out and Caulfield felt that they were able to impose themselves better than the hosts.

“They’re experienced,” he said, “they managed the match.

“They’re good at telling the referees what to do, that’s their experience. We’re young and innocent and that’s the way it goes.

“From that point of view, it’s probably a bit frustrating but that’s the way it goes.

“They’re again the team to beat, they’re clever and they’re cute and they’re experienced.”

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