AFTER Monday’s friendly against Preston North End, John Cotter entered the boardroom at Turner’s Cross to meet the press.
After giving a few of his thoughts on the 2-0 defeat to the championship side –where goalkeeper Tadgh Ryan proved to be the star- the focus quickly switched to the upcoming Europa League match with Progrés Niederkorn as was planned.
The final question from the briefing was about what it will mean to Cotter personally to take charge of the club for the first time in Europe.
“When I first took over, I said I’d been coming here since I was a kid with my dad, European games are always special at Turner’s Cross, it creates an atmosphere around the city,” he enthused.
But he didn’t want to talk about himself instead he quickly turned his attention to the Cork City faithful and sent a pointed message in their direction.
“But I wouldn’t be thinking about myself in this, it’s about getting the players ready and ensuring the supporters come to back the players.
“We’ll be trying to give the supporters something to cheer about, the fans have been phenomenal and they should never underestimate the role they play or the impact it has on the players, especially when it seems like they’re tiring, it gives them that extra bit.”
The fans heard the call to arms and they responded appropriately as the majority of the 3,137 in attendance made their way to their seats early and they made their voices heard.
It had the desired effect. The City eleven selected by the interim head coach started with purpose and they pressed their opponents from the first whistle.
But then disaster struck and by the 21st minute, a particular corner of the Shed End expressed their displeasure at what was unfolding with a song that should never be sung by supporters. By the 21st minute, they were 2-0 down and the tie was almost beyond them.
Colm Horgan also spoke to reporters after that aforementioned Preston match as he looked forward to testing himself against the Luxembourg outfit.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s my first opportunity to actually play in European football, it should be a great experience,” said the right back at the time, he may feel differently about that now.
His first taste of football at this level could hardly have gone worse for the defender who only recently celebrated his 25th birthday. His game time didn’t even reach 25 minutes here.
His first major error came in the 11th minute as he showed his inexperience by holding onto possession for too long on his own end line.
He was quickly disposed of the ball and before he had the chance to make amends the ball was hammered past Mark McNulty at his near post by Belmin Muratovic.
His misery was compounded as he gave a way a penalty in the 20th minute, it was converted in the 21st and he was substituted by the 24th. Welcome to European football, Colm.
It was just a bad night all round for City as they failed to give themselves hope of an unlikely comeback when Karl Sheppard saw a penalty saved. Their chances of making a comeback in the second leg don’t just seem unlikely, they seem unrealistic.