DANNY MURPHY, Cork City’s man of the match against Sligo Rovers is still clinging to the hope that Tommy Dunne’s boys can secure a European spot this year.
And the criteria is simple enough … turn the draws into wins and the team will shoot up the Premier Division table.
“I want to push on for that European spot and the league is so tight and compact that we could still make the top three or four if the results go our way from here on in,” said Murphy who is eagerly looking forward to tonight’s big game with Shelbourne at Turner’s Cross (7.45) “It was disappointing to be two goals up against the leaders Sligo Rovers and then to be clinging on there towards the end.
“We could easily have lost it at the death but we have too many draws for my liking and I’d like us to go on a winning streak instead of our five draws in seven games,” he added.
Murphy played the first half of the 2-0 win over Manchester United in mid-week and will fill his familiar role at left-back tonight against Alan Mathews’ visiting Tolka Reds.
“We have drawn too many times this year giving away silly mistakes and silly goals to the opposition at the beginning of the season and now we are guilty of giving teams the opportunity to get back at us by giving away silly fouls and penalties – that’s the second penalty (v Sligo) we have dished up in four weeks,” said Murphy who called on his team-mates to be more clever on the park.
“We are drawing too many games but Sligo showed us up a bit with the sheer strength-in-depth of their bench and that’s what got them back into the match.
It’s something that we haven’t got but we will work on it. The players Sligo brought on last weekend changed the game,” he added.
“The penalty was harsh but we really gifted them the two set piece goals. We have got to learn and learn quickly how to win games and shut teams out because this is a tough league.
“It’s not a bit like the First Division where a mistake can go unpunished and you get away with some sloppy play.
“We need to be able to shut up shop when we go a goal or two up and be stronger and more ruthless as a team,” he told me.
Murphy still feels Sligo have the wherewithal to hold on and win the title for the first time in 35 years but it could go down to the wire.
“I don’t think we are close to winning anything just yet but we can be better and we need to start nicking points off the top teams.
“It’s the full squad including the bench that wins you the league but I think we are good enough to claim a top four spot.
We have outplayed nearly all the teams we have played, barring Drogheda, and we are not scared of any team.
“If we can just turn a few of the draws into wins by taking our chances then everything will change for the better for us,” he told me.
Fifth placed Shelbourne have key man Stephen Paisley suspended but midfielder Barry Clancy is available again after serving out a three-match ban.
Shels have lost five of their last ten matches.
Cork City to beat Shels tonight