Steven Beattie feels that Cork City are well equipped to mount another title challenge this season and are more than able to go that extra step to claim league glory.
Cork have finished 2nd to Dundalk in the Premier Division for the last three seasons. However, Cork have also improved gradually over that period and are more than able to hold their own with Stephen Kenny's Lilywhites with Cork City beating Dundalk on two occasions in the league last season, but also perhaps most significantly in the FAI Cup Final back in November at the same venue in which the League Launch was held this past Wednesday. That goal from Sean Maguire will never be forgotten by the Leesiders, who could the psychological edge in that regard when these sides first due battle.
That first clash between the two title favourites is taking place on March 25th and Beattie, while speaking to Extratime.ie at the league launch, is of the opinion that City will run Dundalk close again this campaign.
"It was great to win the cup last year, but this now is a totally new year. There are new players everywhere and as I said, Dundalk set the bar, but we were right there last year and I fancy us to go very close again this year.
"But it will be a competitive league this year. Rovers have strengthened, Derry and Sligo should also be there or there abouts. I think it has the capacity to be a very interesting league this year.
"We got over the line in the cup final. It was a great game, but Dundalk set the bar last year overall we will be trying to go one better this year.
"We have strengthened again and we have not lost any of the starting eleven from the cup final. So I think that is important and I think that we are going to go very close this year again, " said Beattie, who scored 5 goals last season for City, during 26 appearances.
Beattie and his Cork teammates get their 2017 Premier Division season underway on Friday, February 24th, as the make the long trip to Donegal to face Finn Harps.