WHILE Friday’s clash with Dundalk resulted in a third straight loss for Cork City under head coach Neale Fenn, the new boss was pleased with the level of application shown.
City went down 1-0 to a disputed late goal from Georgie Kelly, but Fenn was impressed with the response following the defeat at home to Waterford last Monday.
“I was gutted for the boys, really,” he said.
“I know that it’s a tough place to come but we were disciplined. We restricted them to nothing of note in the first-half, we knew the pressure was going to come in the second half but I felt we weathered it quite well.
“It was always going to be tough, we had a lot of injuries and a lot of lads missing, but I can’t complain or be disappointed with any of the players. I was disappointed with the result, obviously, but the performance of the boys was excellent.
“I was critical of the boys on Monday night and I think they’ll admit that they didn’t defend properly, or on Friday [against Sligo Rovers].
“Against Dundalk, when the chips were down, they really defended well, restricted Dundalk to a couple of half-chances before the goal. It was unfortunate, the boys were saying that he punched it in, he never headed it, so it’s disappointing from that point of view but I can’t fault the overall performance.”
Ultimately, Dundalk’s quality told, with City missing a number of key players which deprived Fenn of options from the bench in the second half.
“Our bench was kids, apart from Alan Bennett,” he said.
“We’ve got [Kevin] O’Connor out, [Garry] Buckley out, [Gearóid] Morrissey out, [Karl] Sheppard out, [Joel] Coustrain out – that’s five players you would imagine would be near the starting 11.
“Alec Byrne came in against Dundalk and was excellent, but at the time, we’re just going through a little bit of a time with injuries and it’s tough, especially with three games in a week.
“Without a game this weekend, it gives us a chance to get those boys back and then we’ll have a bench and a squad to choose from and you’ve got decisions. At the moment, we’re just playing the lads that are fit.”
City’s next league game is at home to Finn Harps on Friday week, with this Saturday seeing Alan Bennett’s testimonial take place. Fenn is glad of the opportunity to take stock. “I won’t lie, I’ve had a tough couple of weeks!” he laughed.
“I was extremely disappointed with the result on Friday, nobody wants to go up there and lose, but the performance gave me hope and gave the lads hope too that they can dig out a result.
“They didn’t on Friday but, with a fully fit squad and options off the bench – and that’s no disrespect to the young lads – it gives you a different dimension.
“The break’s coming at a good time, it gives the injured players time to get fit.”