AFTER being on the brink of sealing promotion to the Premier Division on Friday night, Cork City coughed up two second-half goals to Galway United to keep the title race alive.
Assistant manager Richie Holland highlighted five uncharacteristic minutes as one of the reasons the Rebel Army failed to capture the First Division crown with three games to go.
Holland, who was deputising on the sideline for suspended City manager Colin Healy, believed his team created enough chances to win the match.
“It was probably five minutes of madness. I thought overall in the game we had the element of control in terms of the football, and defensively; I thought we looked solid.
"But it was just that five minutes of madness where we just couldn’t deal with the balls into the box, which is unlike us. But I thought we created enough chances tonight. We hit the crossbar twice. The keeper pulled off one or two saves as well, otherwise, we could have come away with the win.
"They didn’t really trouble us up to that point. I thought the boys at the back did well. We defended the box well and stopped crosses into the box. We knew their dangers coming into the game in terms of Stephen Walsh, and Waweru when he came on did well. But whatever happened in that five minutes we just lost a little bit of control.
"I think Galway saw out the game well in the last couple of minutes. They were cute in the way they killed the game."
After City had taken the lead in the 50th minute there was a six-minute delay to the resumption of the game due to supporters invading the pitch and flares being set off in the stands.
Holland said it didn't do the team any favours.
"I think after you score, and I think at that time we were dominant in terms of chances and possession, it did affect us a little bit. But there are no excuses. We should still manage that.
Despite the loss City remain seven points ahead of Galway, but the gap could be down to four if John Caulfield's side win their game in hand.
"We will go again. We are still in a great position.
"I thought we were decent in patches and we created enough chances to win the game. But we have to dust ourselves down and go again. Obviously, we would have liked to have finished the job as quickly as possible but we were under no illusion. Coming up here was always going to be tough."
City face Cobh Ramblers in the Munster Senior Cup final at Turners Cross at 7.45pm on Monday before a break in the league until they host Wexford on 7 October.
“We have a Munster Senior Cup final against Cobh on Monday. It will give an opportunity for players to get some game time. Again, it is an opportunity to win a trophy. Then we have two weeks off before we play Wexford at home. So, the big games keep coming. It’s the same three points against Wexford as it is here, so we just have to get ourselves ready.
"For us it’s about getting back on the training ground, doing things properly and doing what we have been doing all season. Going out; scoring goals and defending well. I have no doubt the group will be ready for Wexford in a couple of weeks."