Bradley happy for Rovers to keep frustrating Cork
John Caulfield dangled the bait and even though Stephen Bradley wasn't about to bite this time, he held his counsel enough to get his point across.
The Cork City boss reignited his war of words with Bradley earlier this week when he warned his players against potential "gamesmanship" when they meet Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght (7.45) this evening.
The bad blood between the two managers erupted in Rovers' EA Sports Cup win at the start of August and given that Cork could potentially win the league later, it will add to what promises to be another tempestuous encounter.
If Dundalk drop points at home to Pat's and Cork beat Rovers, the Leesiders will be crowned champions for the first time since 2005.
Bradley refused to respond directly to Caulfield's latest comments but he did insist that the fact he felt the need to publicly hit out at Rovers meant that Cork viewed the Hoops as a serious threat going forward.
"It gives me a satisfaction to know we're doing something right, as a team and as a club, we're doing something right for people to be talking about us again in a negative fashion," Bradley said.
"If they're not talking about you it means you're miles away and we're not miles away.
"I think you'd be foolish to think anything different. We know and they know and the players on the pitch know that the games between us have been very tight this year.
"As a player, I know from being there and trying to catch Bohs the time we did here, you sense that on the pitch. You know when you are getting close to teams.
"Are we there? Of course we're not, the points show that they are miles ahead of us but that's from them being together a long time - that consistency each week. We need to get to that but that takes time. It's taken them four years so that's what we need to build to."
Caulfield was enraged by Alan Bennett's red card for an alleged stamp on Dave Webster - who the Cork boss claimed made the most of the incident.
Bennett served a one-game ban but Bradley was surprised not to see further punishment handed to the Cork defender.
"The only thing I would say is that if you look at Graham's (Burke) one up in Dundalk at the start of the year, he got a few games," he maintained.
"There wasn't much difference in the two incidents for me. But I don't sit on the panel and I don't have a say in it."
The rivalry between Rovers and Cork is simmering nicely, with Bradley adding that it didn't need two managers in a public spat to enhance it.
"There is going to be a rivalry because we want to challenge where they are. We want what they have. That rivalry will build itself either way. I just don't want to talk about nonsense in terms of he did this, she did that, there was handbags thrown and lipstick and all that. It's nonsense.
"They're going to win the league, they deserve to win it. Like I said, I have nothing but respect for what they have built over the four years that it has taken them to get here. Hopefully if we get that time, we'll have a league to show for it as well at the end of it.
"It's only going to get bigger, the rivalry. I'm not trying to dampen that. It's going to get bigger, there is no doubt about it."