Graham Cummins: Cork City are playing far better but it's now too late

Graham Cummins: Cork City are playing far better but it's now too late

Cork City players huddle ahead of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Waterford at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

THREE years ago, Cork City celebrated as League of Ireland champions after a draw against Derry.

Failing to beat Waterford means the club is all but condemned to First Division football in 2021. 

City were praised for the fight and grit they showed against Dundalk and had more ambition going forward against Waterford, while also battling throughout.

Deshane Dalling was threatening throughout and exploited the lack of pace in the Waterford defence. Strikers always tend to play on the centre-back they feel is weaker and Dalling got a lot of joy operating against Jake Davidson.

Cian Coleman operated as an unorthodox number 10, a position that doesn’t suit the 23-year-old. He isn’t the type of player to get the ball on the half-turn and play a defence-splitting pass. 

Coleman is a box-to-box operator. I would have liked to have seen Cory Galvin and Coleman switch positions because the best I’ve seen Galvin play was when he operated as a number 10 against Waterford in the RSC earlier in the season. 

The 24-year-old is comfortable receiving the ball on the half-turn. It suits him more playing in the middle rather than the wing.

Robbie Weir might not have done much but is exactly the type of player City have lacked. He was vocal throughout, instructing and organising. 

He was a leader and every club needs one. The most vocal player for City was Alan Bennett and he wasn’t even on the pitch.

There have been some notable changes in City’s style of play under Colin Healy in comparison to Neale Fenn. Fenn insisted on total football. At times it was their downfall because they were trying to play in dangerous areas and were often punished. 

Here they didn’t take risks playing out from the back and weren’t afraid to put the ball in the box at any opportunity, going long with frees rather than finding a short option.

Healy is making little adjustments. Unfortunately, these changes have come too late.

Alec Byrne of Cork City in action against Will Fitzgerald of Waterford. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Alec Byrne of Cork City in action against Will Fitzgerald of Waterford. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

City had no luck. The Rebel Army did everything they could and will be wondering how they didn’t come away with all three points, especially considering some of the chances they had late on. 

Kitt Elliot was guilty of missing a golden opportunity, although some might see it as a fantastic save by Brian Murphy. The Waterford keeper also pulled off excellent saves to deny Dylan McGlade and substitute Beineon O'Brien-Whitmarsh.

Murphy somehow managed to get enough on Coleman’s late effort, with the ball trickling across the goal. The host suits also rued the disallowed goal for an apparent push by Coleman, a decision that referee Ben Connolly might review later and feel he got wrong.

The result will leave even the most optimistic City fan fearing life in the First Division. 

City sit bottom of the table, one behind Finn Harps, who have two games in hand. 

Looking at Harp’s remaining fixtures, I would expect Ollie Horgan’s side to at least pick up one victory. 

In that scenario, City require two wins, away to Sligo and at home to Derry, to have any chance. 

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