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LOI Title Race – Is It All Over?

Last week Cork City FC succumbed to a 2-1 loss to defending champs Dundalk at Oriel Park. A loss, which would normally just be another chapter in the overarching City Dundalk narrative, also served as yet another nail in the coffin that is City’s title chances. As things stand, Cork City are in second place, resting behind Dundalk with an equal amount of League games (and the FAI Cup final) to go.

If you flashback to last June, things were different: after a dominating performance by the Rebel Army, Cork City were one point behind league leaders Dundalk with everything to play for; they were the bookies’ favourites to take the League trophy to Leeside. Like now, City suffered just one loss, and a cloud of uncertainty rose to hang over The Shed; and with this loss to Dundalk, a similar cloud has risen, though John Caulfield’s men will hope the ultimate outcome is different this year

People are calling time on John Caulfield’s City career, claiming that the former UCC man is not up to the job. People are also mourning for the demise of the league, as Dundalk have again seemingly ran away with the competition. As short-term memory problems continue to plague many football fans in Ireland, City fans have been quick to forget their own run of form against their Louth opposition; with only the one loss in 7 games against the Louth men (the FAI cup counted as a draw at the end of normal time), City have every reason to keep their chins up looking forward.

While a sense of despair plagues Turners Cross, Dundalk haven’t exactly been as dominant as they have been, going on a run of just scraping games and edging results, which if continued could very possibly end in two draws in their away game at St.Pats and home game to Bohemians.

With five games to play, and a UEFA Europa League tie still to go, the Lilywhites have a two-front footballing war to wage, and the signs of tiredness that come with this are beginning to show. As things stand Stephen O’Donnell is out for the season with a hamstring injury, and further uncertainty grows over former UCC student Daryl Horgan’s future in Louth.

Still, football will be football, and only time will tell. Here’s hoping that that the Rebel Army can snatch victory from the jaws of LOI defeat.