THERE is still a lot of work to do for Cork City manager Colin Healy if he is to get the club promoted back to the Premier Division this season.
City earned the bragging rights in the Cork derby at Turners Cross on Friday night beating Cobh Ramblers 2-1, but Ramblers will feel – and rightfully so – that they should have got something from the game.
I am and always will be, a firm believer that it’s not about the performance but the result. Yes, every team would love to win games by playing free-flowing attacking football but if a team has to grind out a victory, then so be it and that’s certainly what City did against Ramblers.
The first game of the season is never easy. Players are nervous, lack match sharpness and aren’t yet used to the competitive intensity.
Colin Healy gave debuts to Gordon Walker and George Heaven and the latter does look a real find. For his first competitive game in a City shirt, he showed a lot of leadership qualities and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time when balls were crossed into the City box.
There’s a lot of pace in the City forward line between Cian Bargary, Cian Murphy and Dylan McGlade. Bargary who got the winner against Ramblers looked very lively on the night and caused Ramblers a lot of problems and he could be a big player for City. He’s not afraid to run at players when he gets the ball and he looks to make things happen.
Murphy worked tirelessly for the team but struggled against the impressive defensive pairing of John Kavanagh and Charlie Lyons.
The City striker seems to get too excited and he needs to relax both in and out of possession. In possession, he overran the ball and lost control on a few occasions and out of possession because of his willingness to close down defenders quickly, he gives away silly frees.
Murphy is still young and is keen to impress but needs to pick his moments to use his energy. McGlade has proven throughout his career that he can be a top player in the First Division and will be an important player for City this season.
City’s first goal came from a well-worked set-piece and the Rebel Army did try and take the majority of their corners short. They aren’t the biggest side so credit must go to Healy from trying sometimes out of the norm besides just flinging the ball into the box.
Ramblers will look back and wonder how they didn’t get something from the game. Stuart Ashton’s side were very organised, going 4-4-2 out of possession and 4-3-3 in possession and controlled most of the game and on another night would have taken all three points.
They have found a gem of a player in Ciaran Griffin.
Not only did the striker finish his goal extremely well but his all-round game was excellent. He doesn’t appear to be the most physical of players but he’s very intelligent.
He drops off defenders and makes runs in behind to create the space for him to get involved in play deeper. He caused City all sorts of problems and deserved to get his goal.
Ramblers played with two City midfielders with Darren Murphy and David O’Leary protecting the back four and Lee Devitt playing ahead of them. Devitt played out of position and did a job for the team but if a team are going to play with two sitting midfielders then the third midfielder needs to be a creative player.
Apart from Griffin, there isn’t a player in the Ramblers side I would say is very quick. If teams are going to play 4-4-3-3 then at least one of the wide men in the front line needs to be quick, otherwise, teams are better playing 4-4-2.
Both managers can be very encouraged by what they saw from their players on Friday. Healy, because his players showed grit to win a game they would have lost last year, and Ashton because his players controlled the game from the start but just lacked that killer instinct.