By Brendan O’Brien
Cork cup final hero Mark McNulty felt Stephen Kenny’s reaction to his chanting about Dundalk was a sign the Lilywhite manager was feeling the pressure ahead of the League of Ireland showpiece.
The Cork keeper was central to the big match build-up after his less-than-complimentary chants about Dundalk in the Soho Bar and Restaurant on the night City won the league title.
The chanting went viral and the Dundalk manager hit back in cup final week, saying McNulty had been disrespectful and the incident was “from the gutter”.
McNulty claimed that he hadn’t intended to offend Dundalk or the club’s players, past or present, but he didn’t need to log on to social media last week to form the impression that his unexpected public performance had struck a nerve.
He was jeered by Dundalk fans throughout the final, but the veteran keeper was actually encouraged by Kenny’s reaction.
“Look through at a lot of our things (Kenny) bites about,” McNulty said after his penalty save from Michael Duffy helped City clinch the double.
“When the pressure is on him, he bites. He felt the pressure this week because he bit straight away. Coming here today and getting the grief from Dundalk fans, same as I always get from them, I loved it.
“I turned around at the end when we won and I gave them a smile. That’s football. If we lose, I’m the villain.
“I get the height of abuse from everyone. It couldn’t have worked out any better. To win a double in front of the Dundalk fans, who’ve given me a lot of grief, was nice.”