SATURDAY’S friendly against Longford Town was a most unusual Cork City performance.
Leading 1-0 after Seán McLoughlin’s opener, City found themselves 3-1 behind at half-time after a flurry of goals for the visitors in the space of eight minutes coming up to the break, including a freak own goal as Dan Casey’s backpass bobbled and deceived goalkeeper Mark McNulty.
A positive from City’s point of view is that something like this happened last Saturday rather than next week against Dundalk in the President’s Cup and, while some good chances were wasted, manager John Caulfield could take heart from the fact that they were created in the first place.
“I’d like to thank Mayfield, the pitch was in great condition,” he said.
“It was another good game for us, Longford are doing well, Neale Fenn has been there two years and he’s doing great with them.
“At the same time, we were one up and well in control of the game, the first goal was just a freak and then before we knew it, we were 3-1 down.
“Look, we have to work on that, defensively we made mistakes but overall, everyone got a full 45 minutes, Garry Buckley got 90 minutes. We created a few good chances, unfortunately there were three or four we didn’t take.
“That’s something that we’re working on as well.”
After the Lilywhites clash in the President’s Cup at Turner’s Cross next Saturday, City begin their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign with an away tie against St Patrick’s Athletic next Friday before hosting Waterford in their home opener on February 22 and then travelling to Sligo Rovers three days later for a Monday night tie.
Caulfield is keen to keep working on sharpening things up before the action properly begins.
“I think it’s something we have to work on for the season,” he said.
“I think you have to be realistic, we’re working hard and we’re creating chances, we haven’t taken a few today, in the second half we had a couple of glorious chances. One goal brings you back into it.
“You’re hoping you can leave your problems on the pitch in pre-season but I keep saying, the start of the season is going to be hard work, there’s a new team and every day they’re working hard and they’re doing great.
“Unfortunately, on Saturday, we made a few mistakes and we got punished.”
Not involved on Saturday was Karl Sheppard, who is recovering from an injury picked up on the recent trip to Kerry. Caulfield hopes that the Dublin native will be back in action soon.
Gary Boylan, whose signing was announced last week, is nearing the end of his rehabilitation following an ACL injury suffered last summer while he was with Sligo Rovers.
“We hoped Karl would get a run-out on Saturday,” Caulfield said.
“He trained Friday and on Saturday morning he felt a bit tight so we decided not to risk him.”