WHILE Cork City exited the EA Sports Cup with a penalty shootout defeat to Waterford at the RSC on Monday night, manager John Caulfield feels that the performance of his side has shown the extent of the squad depth available to him.
After a scoreless 90 minutes, City fell behind in extra time only for Josh O’Hanlon to equalise and force a penalty shootout. Unfortunately for the Rebel Army, Waterford goalkeeper Niall Corbet saved from Graham Cummins and the home side converted all of their spot-kicks for a 5-3 win to advance to the quarter-finals.
Nevertheless, Caulfield could take positives in how his fringe players acquitted themselves.
“What it does for them is that it shows a lot of them are ready and are up to speed,” he said.
“A match like that with extra time is better than eight or ten training sessions, so it showed that their level of fitness and concentration levels are good.
“From my own point of view, over the next number of weeks with a lot of league games coming up, we’re going to have injuries and situations where we might have to rotate so I’m very happy that most of the lads tonight did very well.”
With a brawl having marred the end of the sides’ league meeting earlier this month, with four red cards and Caulfield and counterpart Alan Reynolds ordered from the dugout, things were kept in a more orderly fashion this time.
Caulfield was something of a pantomime villain with the home crowd but he took it in good spirits.
“We all want a bit of banter and it was good craic,” he laughed, “obviously you expect that after the last day!
“Everything is good-natured and that’s the way it was, maybe the last day was over-exposed and maybe got a lot more attention than it would have on another occasion.
“At the same time, tonight there was a good atmosphere, a good crowd and we take it on the chin. We lost on penalties, overall there wasn’t much in it, we could have won the match but our priority is that we have a massive weekend coming up.
“We’re back in tomorrow morning and we’ll regroup from that.”