Dedicated fan McGee appreciates the feelgood atmosphere at Cork City

Dedicated fan McGee appreciates the feelgood atmosphere at Cork City
Cork City fan Rodger McGee and his granddaughter Ella Leguilloux with Cork City player Graham Cummins. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

HAVING picked up their first league points with Monday’s win over Sligo Rovers, Cork City will aim to give their home support something to shout about as Derry City come to Turner’s Cross on Friday night. 

Among those present will be Rodger McGee, who was chosen as the Evening Echo Fan of The Match for last Friday’s game against Waterford.

Seventy-three years young since Tuesday, Rodger has been married to his wonderful wife Margaret for more than 50 years and is a grandfather of seven as well as having two great-grandchildren.

Born and raised in Ballyphehane, just around the corner from Turner’s Cross, he spent four decades working in Spring Grove Services and now lives in Riverstown.

Rodger’s favourite player is Gearóid Morrissey and he rates the 2011 first division title-decider against Shelbourne, when Graham Cummins scored a late winner, as his best memory supporting the club.

For his ideal five-a-side team, alongside himself he would include former players Kieran Sadlier, Seán Maguire and Steven Beattie as well as current star Conor McCormack, while Colin Healy’s wonderful overheard kick against St Patrick’s Athletic in 2014 is the best goal he has seen.

As to what City means to him: “It’s a community club where I have made friends and, since Foras took over, the feelgood atmosphere is back.”

That feelgood atmosphere is something City will look to capitalise on against Derry. Last season, the Candystripes were beaten twice at Turner’s Cross, though the first of those games, a 4-2 on the June bank holiday Monday, saw them come from 2-0 down before City pushed on again. 

The 5-0 win later in the summer was more one-sided but Derry, with Declan Devine having replaced Kenny Shiels as manager, have six points already, beating UCD and Waterford.

Cork City assistant manager John Cotter is keen to see the Rebel Army build on Monday.

“It was a great win, a much-needed win, obviously,” he says.

“It was a great performance and a great three points to get, so hopefully we can carry that into Friday and continue with another win.

“Derry have done well, with Declan Devine gone in as well, and they had another great win on Monday up in the Brandywell against Waterford.

“We’re under no illusions that we have to be at our best again and play well. It’s always a good fixture to look forward to, whether you’re home or away, but obviously the main thing is to come out the end of it with the three points.”

Monday’s game saw on-loan striker Dan Smith make his debut off the bench, and his arrival means that City now have a squad of 27 players, with two more, Aaron Barry and John Kavanagh, out on loan. Is there a concern that the squad is too big in terms of keeping players happy?

“Obviously, we’re only three games in and this is the fourth game,” he says.

“Dan came on and I thought he did quite well once he settled into the game, it’s obviously a difficult league to come into.

“It might take him a bit of time to adjust so we wouldn’t be putting too much pressure on him, same with Liam Nash, who worked very hard. They’re under no illusions about how tough this league is, no matter where they’re coming from, to be honest.

“As you play games Friday, Monday, Friday, you can’t keep going with the same 11 the whole time, you have to make changes. A best 11 is grand but it depends what game you’re playing, too. Some players might suit a certain opposition, we’d look at all those things.”

Among the visiting players taking to the field tonight will be Derry captain Barry McNamee, who spent last year in Cork. Eoghan Stokes and Greg Sloggett are other new arrivals and, while Cotter isn’t willing to make them title contenders just yet, he knows a difficult challenge awaits.

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