"On another day, you make a mistake and some one covers you," pondered John Caulfield as he faced the press following his side’s FAI Cup final defeat to Dundalk.

The winning goal came late in the 2-1 defeat following a mistake by Cork defender Shane Griffin, who gave the ball away inside his own half, from which Dundalk capitalised.

But the manager would not single out that particular mistake as the reason his side missed out on a chance of three in a row at the Lansdowne Road venue.

"I felt it was an even match. There wasn’t a lot of clear chances," said Caulfield at the post-match press conference.

"It was a period when the game had opened up, we were punished and that was the difference. Congratulations to Dundalk, double winners. It is disappointing but you have to shake hands and move on."

The manager was loathe to place any of the blame on his defender, who he believed had an excellent game aside from the mistake that cost the goal.

"He is disappointed, but Shane Griffin is a phenomenal player. He came into the team last year and he won the double.

"And I think he was very good today. They took Mountney off because he was causing problems going forward. He had been playing really really well."

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Cork and Dundalk have played out the last four cup finals and the Lilywhites victory means that both sides have won it twice in that period.

Two goals in two first-half minutes ensured the sides were level at the break and it was Patrick McEleney’s 73rd-minute header that proved the difference in the end.

And the manager pin-pointed a moment in the game five minutes previous when he was forced to make a substitution with midfielder Geroid Morrissey departing through injury

"Geroid Morrissey had put a stamp on the game but then he hurt his groin and had to come off and I think that disrupted us a bit.

"You ask your team to perform and give everything on the day and if they do that, you shake their hand. They tried their best and you cannot ask for more than that."

Cork's Garry Buckley with Chris Shields of Dundalk

And the manager appeared to have few complaints with the role of the referee who appeared a little lenient with several full-blooded tackles flying in from both sides.

Chris Shields was booked in the first half and was perhaps a little lucky not to receive a second caution with a mistimed tackle early in the second half.

"At the end of the day, they were heavy challenges but I would never like anyone to be sent off," he said.

"Chris Shields is a very good player and he lives on the edge, fair dues to him. But I am not here to blame anyone."

So now with the season over, Caulfield admitted it was time to start rebuilding towards the 2019 campaign, with the City boss revealing that several players would be departing the club.

"Most of the player who are out of contract will be leaving the club," revealed Caulfield. "They have got better offers elsewhere.

"We need to build a new team, have a strong Cork core and we need to bring in some outside players to make a bit of difference and challenge."