After their defeat to St Pat's Athletic on Monday evening, Cork City manager John Caulfield has accepted that the race for the SSE Airtricity Premier Division title "is all over".
Cork's rivals for the title, Dundalk, had a comfortable 3-0 win away to Longford Town - a result that now sees them move seven points ahead of the Leesiders at the top of the table.
When asked whether the 3-1 loss at Richmond Park makes it difficult for Cork to win the title with three games to play, Caulfield told RTÉ Sport: "There is no doubt about that. It's all over.
"We have our last home match on Friday night and we want to give the crowd something to cheer about for the rest of the season and to set them up for the Aviva (FAI Cup final)."
Reflecting on the defeat to Liam Buckley's side, the Cork boss bemoaned the many chances his side spurned and added: "It was a funny night in the sense that there was no atmosphere and we got lulled into that.
"We gave away a very soft, first goal. We had numerous chances to get back into the match and got back level at the stroke of full-time.
"In the second half it looked like it was only a matter of time before we were going to score but we didn't, knocked a few over the crossbar. Against the run of play in what was Pat's second chance of the night they score.
"And then there was the penalty at the end."