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Struggle afoot to keep Cork afloat

Published: Wednesday 20 August 2008, 10.20CET
Irish Cup holders Cork City FC are fighting for survival just weeks after playing in UEFA Cup qualifying with the club battling to cope with substantial debts.
by Aidan Fitzmaurice
from Dublin
Struggle afoot to keep Cork afloat
Cork supporters holding a 'save our club' banner ©Sportsfile
Published: Wednesday 20 August 2008, 10.20CET

Struggle afoot to keep Cork afloat

Irish Cup holders Cork City FC are fighting for survival just weeks after playing in UEFA Cup qualifying with the club battling to cope with substantial debts.
Irish Cup holders Cork City FC are fighting for survival just weeks after playing in the UEFA Cup, with the club battling substantial debts.

In contention
Alan Mathews' side are still in contention for all four domestic trophies in Ireland and are also the best-supported club in the country, but off-field matters have come to a head in recent weeks with debts reported to stand at around €800,000. Cork have received a bid from English second-tier club Reading FC for striker Dave Mooney, the Irish league's top scorer this season with 15 goals, but even if that deal goes through, it may not be enough to save the club.

Formal procedure
Cork have formally gone before the courts in Ireland to enter a period of examinership, a form of receivership. A rescue plan could be mounted, but it will be costly on the field. Shamrock Rovers FC were saved from going out of business in 2005 when they went into examinership but it hurt the Dublin side in the short term as they were deducted eight points for breaching licensing regulations and were relegated from the top flight.

Official statement
Premier Divison teams Galway United FC, Cobh Ramblers FC and Sligo Rovers FC have also acknowledged financial problems this season but Cork's situation is the most serious. The club said in an official statement: "The board remains in talks with potential investors and is very optimistic and confident that Cork City will emerge from this difficult period and continue into the future as one of the best clubs in the League of Ireland."

'Bills and mortgages'
Striker Dennis Behan was Cork's hero as he scored the only goal of the game against Shamrock Rovers to take them into the FAI Cup quarter-finals, a trophy they won last season, but he admits that the financial woes are a worry. "We all have bills and mortgages to pay and we are concerned, we just hope the club can get through it."

Gamble contract
Founded in 1984, Cork almost went out of business in 1996 but were saved by a group of local businessmen. Last month, they agreed a new three-year contract with Republic of Ireland midfield player Joe Gamble but a number of senior players are out of contract when the season ends in November and they are also concerned for their futures. "The players want to know what's really going on," said captain Dan Murray. "We have half the first team out of contract in November but, apart from Joe Gamble, we've signed no one back."

Last updated: 20/08/08 18.42CET

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