Spotter wrote: ↑
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:16 pm
Dundalk dominated first half - predictable enough with a settled starting 11 against a new experimental Cork side. Second half Cork were more assured and upped the tempo, dominating most of the play. Tilley hounded Gartland and O'Connor was very effective on the right wing. The second half showed that Dundalk could be rattled as they were reduced to hoofing under pressure, with the occasional threatening attack. Someone on here mentioned that this was just toying with the opposition, trying out some defensive manoeuvres etc. - a deluded arrogance. For sure, Dundalk have the strongest squad in the league and with other teams strengthening significantly, dropped points will be spread more evenly amongst the chasing pack. This could open up an early gap at the top of the table, or it could mean being involved in a tougher dog fight than some of the more condescending supporters would expect.
What I saw was a hard working young Cork team that were generally limited bar a couple of stand out players. Dundalk definitely did take the foot off the gas second half and introduced players that wouldnt be as 'settled' as anyone can be in preseason. Generally any pressure was soaked up and Cork were let come at us time and again with little panic or being rattled. If we needed to we could have shifted up a couple of gears.
Plenty of room was given to Daire O'Connor by an out of sorts John Mountney who didnt look like he was that settled and has carried some of the indifferent from from the cup final in to this game, O'Connor wont get as much space in a full competative league games by other let alone Dundalk.
Maybe Rogers was unsighted but I thought he was a bit slow to get across to the K. O'Connor free and positioning maybe too central, I think he took a step toward the centre too before the dive but thats probably nit picking. I like the composure he showed playing that ball out at the end but its always hearts in the mouth stuff when he does it and tbh Id be quite happy to see him hoof those. I do think McCarey could feature a lot more than Sava did in the past. SK tended to show serious patience with players allowing to play in to form but with such a strong option like McCarey any dip in form by Rogers will see that position rotated and vice versa.
I felt that the game was controlled well by Dundalk after taking a comanding lead and were comfortable enough without any real sitters carved out by Cork - keeping players fit is a priority during preseason when niggling injuries can be picked up early season until the adjustment to fully competative game intensity is reached so its no surprise that the intensity of Dundalk play dropped second half. McEleney was pretty anonymous also for most of the game which wasnt exploited by Cork. We have plenty to work on ouselves and get in to that collective instinct that we show but we are further ahead on that this year I feel with the vast majority of the squad retained. Fitness and conditioning was as usual impressive with the players looking just as if the were midseason, I like the thinking behind the celebrating with the team photo with the Dundalk support. That sort of thing will do all the moving out of the previous managers shadow thats wanted without soundbites like 'best preseason prep ever'.
Caulfield was a master of the dark arts when he was a player himself so i highly doubt that his players are as naive as he is letting on, though it is a poor attempt to influence referees. The pitch was pretty ropey too which never helps a team trying to play football. Cork will be in a battle for Europe and its no means a forgone conclusion. Shamrock Rovers , St Pats are definitely ahead of Cork. Waterford, Derry and maybe even Sligo and UCD will think they have a shot at Europe, anybody who doesnt take UCD seriously will get a mauling as they could quite possible be the best young team the league as seen. I hope this isnt too condescending for Cork fans to suggest that mid table is a possibility this season for them. They will draw a lot of games which will barely keep them in touch of a European slot imo.