IN an online poll earlier this week, readers of The Echo predicted that Cork City would have a better season than Cobh Ramblers, voting in the Rebel Army’s favour by a margin of 55 percent to 45.
That close victory was reflected in the 2-1 scoreline in the SSE Airtricity League First Division opener at Turner’s Cross on Friday night, with goals from City’s Cian Coleman and Cian Bargary sandwiching a Ramblers equaliser from Ciarán Griffin.
It was City’s first league win since a 3-0 triumph over Sligo Rovers last August, and their first opening-game victory since 2018, and manager Colin Healy was relieved to have got off on the right foot.
“It was always going to difficult, especially against Cobh,” he said. “They made it really difficult for us and we’re probably getting away with the three points, but it’s great for us, a good start to the season.
“First game of the season, there’s always room for improvement but the most important thing is the three points.”
Ramblers had threatened before Coleman gave City the lead seven minutes before half-time and then, after Griffin’s equaliser, the hosts looked a bit shaky before Dylan McGlade’s cross led to Bargary scoring what proved to be the winner.
“I’d have to watch them back,” Healy said, “but it was back and forth all through the game, I thought.
“It was an entertaining game. The quality wasn’t as good as I’d have liked it to be but, first game of the season, lads are still getting their fitness. The three points are what we’re looking for as the most important thing.”
Healy gave debuts to three new signings, defenders Gordon Walker and man of the match George Heaven and on-loan midfielder Jack Baxter, and was impressed with how they settled.
“They were fine,” he said.
“You’re getting your fitness levels and all that kind of stuff and we played a very good side in Cobh. They were organised and they were good on the ball, they put on a good performance and it was a difficult game for us.
“The new lads that came in, it was good for them to play their first game in the stadium. Some boys put in good performances and hopefully next week we’ll be stronger and fitter.”
However, one notable absentee was the returning Steven Beattie, ruled out with a hamstring injury.
“He hurt it during the week and I didn’t want to take a chance on him,” Healy said.
“He’ll be back in training Monday, I just didn’t want to risk anything.” Beattie should be back for next Friday’s trip to Cabinteely, with City’s win sending them to Dublin in positive mood.
“It does and it was great to get the three points,” Healy said, “but Cobh had a shot off the crossbar that could easily have gone!
“It gives up belief going up to Cabinteely next week and getting the win is massive for us.”