City will be glad this season is over but can now make plans and changes to help them bounce back quickly 

City will be glad this season is over but can now make plans and changes to help them bounce back quickly 

Gearóid Morrissey of Cork City protests to referee Sean Grant during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Cork City and Derry City at Turner's Cross in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

A positive performance from Cork City, their best all season, but still only a draw against Derry on Monday night in Turner’s Cross.

It finished off a disappointing 2020 SSE Airtricity league season with Cork finishing at the bottom of the Premier division and relegated.

This is City’s lowest ever league position in their history in the Premier Division.

Heading into their final game against Derry, Healy’s aim was to make sure his team had a good attitude, a good performance and a win. 

And he got two out of three, unlucky not to get all three points. 

The last time Derry played in Turner’s Cross was June 2019 with the visitors coming out on top with a 4-1 win so that improvement was a positive in itself.

On Monday, City played the best I’ve seen them play all year. 

They were aggressive in the tackle, they showed great hunger to win every ball and they passed the ball excellently which is a credit to Healy and the lads to produce such a performance when there was nothing at stake. 

Conor McCormack of Derry City, left, and Mark McNulty of Cork City leave the pitch following the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Cork City and Derry City at Turner's Cross in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Conor McCormack of Derry City, left, and Mark McNulty of Cork City leave the pitch following the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Cork City and Derry City at Turner's Cross in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Healy badly wanted the win and that was evident in not only his side’s attitude but also in the fact that he waited until the 82nd minute to make any changes.

Although the game meant nothing to City, Derry, however, needed points on the table to avoid the relegation/promotion play off. 

And because of this, they wanted to give themselves every opportunity. 

They had been in Cork since Saturday evening having travelled directly from their defeat against Shamrock Rovers in Dublin and it paid off in the end. 

They played well but City’s work rate made things very difficult for them up until their equaliser but well done to Healy and his side for producing a great and positive performance.

Now to look back over the 2020 season, it’s hard to pinpoint where things went wrong. 

A simple point of view would be to blame Fenn but I think the wheels were coming off the wagon a long time before Neale arrived at the club. 

The run of bad results in 2018 and falling attendances were a harbinger of doom. 

It seems like events on the pitch and behind the scenes were pulling the Club in a downward trajectory that proved impossible to stop.

Fenn inherited a fairly depleted squad and a diminished playing budget. 

In hindsight it looked like a poison chalice as it indeed proved to be. What transpired on the pitch mirrored what was going on behind the scenes and the Club seemed broken on all levels. 

No one, particular person can be blamed, it seems like destiny pulled the club to the brink. 

Now there is an opportunity to rebuild and redirect the Club and take it on a different road. Hopefully this road leads to another successful period on the pitch.

Cork City's Kevin O'Connor and Eoin Toal of Derry City after the game
Cork City's Kevin O'Connor and Eoin Toal of Derry City after the game

But for the moment it’s a waiting game, waiting for official confirmation from Grovemoor about a take over and then waiting to see what action they will take. 

Will they stick with the current interim management team? 

How many of the current squad will be retained? 

Will they recruit locally or will we be looking at an influx of talent from around the UK? 

How much will they invest?

Getting out of the first division is not an easy task so I hope the new owners don’t underestimate the job ahead of them? 

I would like to see Colin Healy been given a chance and his knowledge will be valuable. 

Also if the Covid restrictions are lifted and fans are allowed back to watch the games they will like to see a mix of local and international talent. 

Obviously, winning matches will put bums on seats and the fact that we were denied live football for so long should also help to increase attendances.

The long term expectation from City fans will always be the same, to win games playing attractive football while showcasing the local talent being nurtured through the academy. 

Players like Jake O’Brien, Cian Coleman, Alex Byrne, Ricardo Dinanga and Cian Bargary now have experience at the top level and should be good enough to progress and improve to a premier division level. 

I would like to see them remain at the club. 

Will we see young talent playing in the MSL be recruited? 

Why not! Will players like Ian Turner get an opportunity to play for City again in the first division? 

All these questions will be answered sooner rather than later and we can look forward to next season.

For 2021 City will compete in the First division and this I feel is an opportunity to regroup and be ready to compete again in the top flight after promotion is achieved. 

A fresh start to rebuild.

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