TONIGHT: SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Dundalk v Cork City, Oriel Park, 7.45pm.
EVEN though we’re only two games into the league season, things are looking rather bleak from the Cork City point of view.
Last year, what was then John Caulfield’s City lost to St Patrick’s Athletic and Waterford in their opening two games before getting off the mark with a win away to Sligo. This time around, they have lost to Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers, the latter a 6-0 defeat on Friday.
However, it will be a lot tougher to engineer a repeat of 2019 by getting a first win in the third game, as they go to Louth to face the champions.
City manager Neale Fenn must rouse his troops, and he knows it’s the only options.
“We’re going to have to, aren’t we?” he said.
“We’re going to have to pick ourselves back up, it’s no use crying about it. We have a massive game on Monday, we know what Dundalk are like, we know all about them and their qualities as well.
“We know that in certain situations we can’t defend against them like we did on Friday night because they’ll pick us off as well.
“We need to be strong, we need to pick ourselves back up and go again.”
City went 2-0 down just before half-time on Friday and a red card for Deshane Dalling in injury time made a difficult task almost impossible. Rovers strolled to victory, with Graham Burke scoring five, though Fenn saw some positives when it was 11 against 11.
“I thought we did okay up until the first goal,” he said.
“We were playing quite well, we were restricting them and dangerous on the break, we were getting at them, we were having chances.
“We conceded the first goal, which was quite sloppy, but you’re thinking we’ll see it out until half-time, then they score again just before half-time and you’re thinking the next goal just after half-time will be crucial.
“The sending-off made it impossible. That doesn’t mean that we should have conceded the goals we should, I don’t think we defended well enough as ten men.”
City will again be without Cian Coleman, who missed out on Friday.
“He has a ligament injury, he’s out for three or four weeks,” Fenn said.
“Deshane will be suspended, it’s not ideal. Conor Davis is still out with his injury too.
“It gives us a problem because I felt Deshane was looking good, he had [Joey] O’Brien whenever he wanted him and he had a couple of chances.
“In the second half, with the wind in our favour and able to get out a little bit more and put pressure of them. We could have nicked the next goal, hopefully, and it’s a totally different game but that’s not what happened.”