Sheppard: I couldn't really trust Kenny

Updated / Thursday, 7 Dec 2017 08:43

Karl Sheppard has been with Cork City since 2015

Karl Sheppard says he changed his mind over moving from double winners Cork City to Dundalk because he had wanted Stephen Kenny to deny the existence of any deal until the end of the season.

Towards the end of the campaign, speculation emerged that the forward had agreed a pre-contract to move to Cork's rivals for 2018.

Sheppard says that while he had agreed to move, it was under the proviso that it be kept secret until the end of the season.

"I was adamant we both said that this can’t come out," Sheppard told RTÉ 2fm's Game On.

"I signed a bit before the cup final. We were both in the semis. I said if we both get through, I can’t have this coming out, or if it is into the last week of the season. I could lose out on a place in the cup final team, or it could throw me massively.

"It was a very bad week for me and a stressful time.

"Ten days from the cup final, we had lifted the league trophy and to be honest, there was a small section and I’d say very small, maybe 15 people in the Cork end that were actually booing me.

"This stuff [speculation] was seeping out. People were giving me a bit of abuse.

"We were lifting the trophy in front of the Shed and I thought, you know what, I’ll let it off. I didn’t want to take away from what was happening on the pitch that day."

In the week leading up to the cup final, Kenny was asked about signing Sheppard and said: "I’m not going to put him in an awkward situation but it’s not something I’m going to deny either at this stage. I’m not going to lie to you."

"Going into the cup final, more came out, and it went from bad to worse," said Sheppard.

"John [Caulfield] had a meeting with the players on the Thursday, sat everyone around and said, ‘look lads, we need to address the elephant in the room. Shep, it seems, is leaving us. He’s been great, but I trust him to do the business on Sunday’.

"Going into the game there was a massive load of pressure on me. If I was having a bad first half I was off.

"[The players] knew the only reason I was going to sign for Dundalk was the fact that my girlfriend has a little one and she is in Dublin and wouldn’t be able to come up and down to Cork so much.

"That was the only reason I was going to leave. Thankfully that situation has changed.

"I knew going into the cup final I wasn’t leaving. The stress drained out of me after the full-time whistle."

Sheppard says that Kenny took his decision not to switch with good grace

"I made the decision on the Friday. I spoke to Stephen the day before I signed back with Cork. I said to him, ‘look Stephen, I think you went against what we spoke about'.

"He said that he didn’t want it to come out that way, that it wasn’t his intention in not denying it. I said that if it we had one agreement, I couldn’t really trust you then if you went against it. In fairness to him he’s quite a nice guy and he took it very well. He apologised if it came across that way.

"I was expecting a bit of abuse down the phone, but he is a nice guy and was good about it.

"I’m delighted to be back at Cork. I could have made a good bit more money going to Dundalk."