Sunday 22 July 2018

Sadlier keen to kick on after his having his final say

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

As the dust settled on a dramatic FAI Cup final, Kieran Sadlier expressed the wish that it could be the start of a special phase in his career.

Mark McNulty's prominent role in the build-up meant that it was the goalkeeper who saved the penalty rather than the player who actually fired home the winner who commanded the lion's share of the attention.

If Sunday's shoot-out was Cork's Italia '90 moment, Sadlier was the David O'Leary figure - and he came off the bench too - but he wants his legacy to be about more than one spot-kick.

The talented midfielder was disappointed to miss out on a role in John Caulfield's starting team, yet the mid-season signing from Sligo Rovers made a positive impact off the bench.

He is new to the Cork-Dundalk rivalry, but the ex-West Ham team-mate of Sean Maguire is aiming to follow in the footsteps of his pal by setting the league alight next term.

"It's come a bit early," said Sadlier, when asked about playing such a big role in the game that secured the double.

"It (the move) was about coming down and bedding in, showing people what I can do and then next year would really be the year when I showed people what I'm capable of.

"I've played a good amount of the games in the league and obviously every cup game. It's a great feeling to do the double, it's what I wanted to do. I said in interviews when I joined that I wanted to win trophies. I want to win more now."

Cork's players were greeted at a special homecoming last night and for local lad Garry Buckley it was a special moment, although he pointed out that the outsiders were a bit more overwhelmed in the aftermath.

"Conor (McCormack) got a bit emotional, I know his family are mad Dundalk fans. I know Ryan Delaney got very emotional too.

"I know it won't sink in for a couple of days for me, I was only a young fella the last time Cork won the league (2005), so it's special.

"The last time they could have done the double, I was up in Lansdowne myself as a young fellow. You think back to those times and now as a player it's special."

The emotions in Dundalk were different yesterday with minds turning to next season and Stephen Kenny battling to keep hold of key squad members.

Dane Niclas Vemmelund had stressed before the game he was going home for personal reasons.

"Nothing has been lined up," he said. "I will go home and re-assess, look at offers and see what happens then.

"The clubs here just need to invest a little bit more. Not only Dundalk - that's every team.

"It is probably a bit old school in terms of facilities, stadia. Another problem is that the best players go after a season or two. And if you want to keep them you probably have to put them on longer contracts."

Vemmelund joined Dundalk from Derry and Kenny could go back to his old club to bolster his defensive options.

Aaron Barry has already been linked with a move to Oriel Park and it's understood full back Dean Jarvis is also on Dundalk's radar.

Irish Independent

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