Caulfield hits back at Kenny's 'astonishing attack'
Cork City manager John Caulfield has hit back at Stephen Kenny's "astonishing attack" after the Dundalk boss claimed the league leaders were "manufacturing penalties", writes Cian Tracey.
Caulfield expects Kenny's comments to land him in hot water as the pressure begins to show on the defending champions.Cork opened up a nine-point lead over Dundalk with victory over Bohemians on Friday night, but they felt hard done-by when referee Ben Connolly didn't award them what goalscorer Karl Sheppard branded "two stonewall penalties".
Kenny complained that the number of penalties Cork have won is "outrageous", but Caulfield rubbished the suggestion.
"It was brought to my attention on Thursday morning," Caulfield said.
"It was an astonishing attack on League of Ireland referees and assistant referees. I'm sure the relevant authorities will deal with it.
"Ye know the stats lads. How many goals have we scored this season? 23? 26 with the President's Cup, so in 2017 we've had one penalty.
"I think the authorities need to deal with it. It's an astonishing attack on the referees and the assistant referees. That's the way I read it.
"There's great guys doing their best. Some days you get them, some days you don't, but overall I think the standard (of refereeing) is very good. I just read it as an astonishing attack."
Sheppard suggested that the referee may have been influenced by Kenny's comments, but it mattered little on this occasion as Cork ran out 2-0 winners to set a new modern-day Premier Division record by racking up nine straight victories. "Maybe the ref could have been listening to some things during the week. We thought we had two stonewall penalties, but they weren't to be," said Sheppard.
Caulfield also dismissed the notion that Cork are overly reliant on top scorer Sean Maguire, saying: "If people call us a one-man team, they don't understand football. That was our ninth game, fifth clean sheet. Seanie is magic, but they are all great guys who are working hard."
Caulfield will ring the changes for this evening's EA Sports Cup clash in Limerick, while Shamrock Rovers host Bohs in a Dublin derby.