Kenny Shiels says that Derry may not fulfil Cork fixture
Kick-off time for the Turners Cross clash has been confirmed for 7.20pm, live on RTÉ 2
Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has said his team may not fulfil their fixture against Cork City. Photo: Ciaran Culligan/Inpho
The rescheduled Airtricity League clash between Cork City and Derry City will kick off at 7.20pm on Tuesday night with RTÉ set to broadcast live coverage.
The game was originally set to be played on Monday night but was postponed due to the weather warnings in effect as a result of Storm Ophelia hitting Ireland.
Cork need just a point to clinch their first league title since 2005 while Derry can also secure their place in Europe for next season.
The Candystripes were already on their way down to Cork on Sunday when they were told of the postponment and Kenny Shiels told The Irish Times that the rescheduling for 24 hours later was “illogical”.
“It seems illogical to have asked us to have travel when there was such a red weather warning and you expect that weather this severe will still have an impact on Tuesday evening so surely it would be more sensible to have put it back to next week,” he said while still travelling south with his players.
“That would have suited us and it would have suited Cork City but we are governed by what the authorities decide and they say it must go ahead on Tuesday night.
“You have to think of the supporters,” he continued, “particularly the younger and older ones. Playing next week seems the obvious thing to do but what can we do, we will continue on down there now and spend two nights in Cork rather than one. We are bound by the decisions the FAI take.”
Since then Shiels had spoken to BBC Radio Foyle and sounded out the possibility that his team may not fulfil the fixture.
“We have a duty of care to the families, he said. “I have taken young players out of school to come down and play for Derry City in a very important game.
“But the importance of the game is superseded with the safety of these young people. It’s important we look after them and put their duty of care before everything.
“We’re a little bit concerned to be honest. To sit in a hotel for two and a half days waiting on a game is not the professional preparation we would have liked.”
The Derry manager went on to say that he may consider returning to Derry with his team without playing the match, while also making the point that it is unfair on title challengers Dundalk as Cork will be playing an ill-prepared side.
“There is a distinct possibility and the way I’m thinking about it at the moment is I can’t say it for definite. I have to put my players’ safety and health before everything.
“I don’t think it’s fair to be stuck down here for two and a half days preparing for a game when we can’t go out the hotel door.
“I don’t think it’s fair on Dundalk Football Club for example. From that perspective, I have to make a decision on that. We can’t really travel either. That’s the problem. We’re stuck in the middle of this.
“It’s been very demanding on everybody. We’re sitting looking at each other not knowing what to do and psychologically the players are a little bit shocked at having to be here. I don’t want to blame anyone for this. That’s what it is about. It’s about looking after the welfare of the players and staff.
“We feel a little bit hard done by and it’s a little bit paranoid but I couldn’t see Cork City sitting in Derry for two and a half days before a game unable to prepare for a fixture of such importance. I couldn’t see that happening. Maybe that’s a little bit paranoid.
“I certainly have to make a decision if we go back home before this storm or stay down and sit and look at each other. We’re being deprived of proper preparation required for such an important fixture.”