Bennett: We were sluggish in Hoops tie
FOLLOWING Cork City’s stalemate with Shamrock Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last Friday evening, veteran defender Alan Bennett acknowledged that the Hoops were a hard side to break down.
Bennett – who is in his second spell with the Leesiders, felt that they started the game in a sluggish manner, and with the youthful exuberance of Rovers proving to be a tricky on the night, he said they will have to regroup for Thursday’s Europa League encounter with Linfield.
“Yeah, started a bit sluggish I suppose. We didn’t start too great. We came in at half-time, tried to re-group and get at them again the second-half. They’ve changed their team recently, put in a lot of young lads,” Bennett stated.
“Lot of enthusiasm there, and they’ve done really well. Tough to break down. We didn’t create enough opportunities, we didn’t work their keeper half as much as we should. We just have to re-group now. We’ve got a European game coming up, so that will be where we’re focusing on.”
Because Dundalk increased their lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 success against St Patrick’s Athletic on the same night, this could be seen as an opportunity lost for Cork. Bennett accepted that this is a reasonable observation to make, but was quick to point out that there is a long way to go in the season.
“There’s still a long way to go. Still a long season there ahead. I think Rovers will take points off a lot of people. They probably still have ambitions to do really well.
“Opportunity lost? Yes, I suppose it is, but they’ll come around thick and fast now. You’ll never know what will happen in Europe. Teams might take off, and you never know. We’ll just take it every game as it comes, as you do as an experienced player.”
Thursday’s trip to Windsor Park for a qualifying tie with Irish league giants Linfield is now the primary focus for City, and Bennett revealed that the squad are hoping to atone for last year’s disappointing defeat to KR Reykjavík at the same round.
“I’ve been on a couple [of good European runs], we had two good years where we got through a few rounds.
“It’s magic, you just get wrapped up in the whole thing. You’re going off different places, and it’s a bit of a whirlwind.
“That’s exactly what we want. We didn’t really represent ourselves too well last year in the Europa, it was very disappointing against Reykjavík. We’re hoping that this year we can give a better account of ourselves,” Bennett added.