In 2016, Cork City spoiled Dundalk's perfect season by beating them in the FAI Cup Final, denying their fierce rivals the double. Yesterday, Dundalk were out to the same to Cork, and spoil the party for the John Caulfield's team.
They weren't far off from doing so. Whereas Sean Maguire's winner in extra time last year left little time for the opposing team to respond, when Dundalk took the lead in extra time yesterday, there were still 25 minutes to play when Niclas Vemmelund put them ahead. City equalised through Achille Campion and the game went to penalties.
That was the time for Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty to step up to the plate, as it just had to be. McNulty saved Dundalk's fourth penalty, which left it up to Kieran Sadlier to fire the winner.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) November 5, 2017
Mark McNulty's history with Dundalk is well documented.
Last year, McNulty's speech in Soho in Cork after their Cup final win created headlines, when he accused pundits of only talking about Dundalk and underestimating his team.
Everyone's saying Dundalk this Dundalk that. They're doing well in Europe. We went three fucking rounds in Europe! There's no one saying anything about fucking Cork!
More recently, McNulty caused another stir when he was filmed leading a group of Cork fans in a chant of "Fuck the Lilywhites", again in Soho, as players and fans celebrated their league title win.
This enraged Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny who called the chant insulting and disrespectful. He also claimed that Cork players or fans had even targeted Dundalk's captain with the chant last year.
Not only that but ringing Stephen O’Donnell last year after the cup final when we were on the bus going back home and shouting down the phone taunting Stephen O’Donnell… Stephen is probably the most successful captain of modern times.
He carries himself with great dignity. He has won five league titles and been in two Europa Leagues but ringing down the phone and taunting him on the phone, we had that. This wasn’t a one-off.
It's fair to say McNulty received his fair share of stick during the game from Dundalk supporters, with a flare even being thrown in his direction at one stage.
A lit flare thrown from Dundalk section hits one of the firemen standing between them and Mark McNulty's goal
— Mark McCadden (@markmccadden) November 5, 2017
Speaking to RTE's Adrian Eames after the yesterday's game, McNulty explained his actions.
I was getting a lot of grief, but listen, I've been getting that all year from Dundalk fans on social media and all that. I don't mind, to me it's a bit of banter. They came out and have a little pop, a little bite off what I said in Soho pub the other night, but listen, I was inside in a bar with 500 Cork City supporters, having a bit of craic with Cork City fans. Listen, that's what football is, and that's why fans are such an important part of football.
Was the chant disrespectful to Dundalk? McNulty is adamant that's not the case.
Of course it's not! Jesus.
I'm a Cork City fan, first and foremost. I went to every Cork City game as a youngfella. I was lucky enough to become a player, and I will be a fan long after I retire from football. I'm just in a pub with a lot of Cork City supporters, we're having craic, we're having banter.
Listen, I meant nothing bad by it. At the end of the day, it's banter, that's all it is. If people got offended by it, I apologise, but listen, at the end of the day, it's only banter.