SSE Airtricity League First Division
Cabinteely v Cork City
Stradbrook Road, 7.45pm
It’s an early top-of-the-table clash tonight as Cork City go to south Dublin to face the only other side that won in last week’s opening round of fixtures.
While City were overcoming Cobh Ramblers on a 2-1 scoreline in the Cork derby at Turner’s Cross, Pat Devlin’s Cabinteely triumphed 2-1 away to Wexford. With promotion favourites Galway United and Shelbourne having drawn with each other at Eamonn Deacy Park, another win for the Rebel Army would ensure that the momentum from the Cobh win is harnessed in the right way.
The winner last week came from winger Cian Bargary. It was a second league goal for the native of Boherlahan in Tipperary, having netted on his debut against UCD as a teenager in 2019. Injuries have intruded since then, but he is keen to push on now and help the promotion push.
“It’s just part of the game, you just have to get on with it,” he says.
“Hopefully, this year I can stay injury-free and just keep working hard, get my head down and give 100 percent for every game.
“Hopefully, I’ll take my chance.”
Bargary’s decisive intervention came in the 75th minute, when he converted from a left-wing cross from Dylan McGlade. Bargary, who played his underage football with St Michael’s of Tipperary town before joining City’s academy, was pleased to have had such an impact.
“Ever since last year, I was told to get in at the far post whenever the ball was at the other side,” he says.
“You’ll always get one or two chances in a game, I was just lucky enough to be there when the ball dropped for me.
“The most important thing is to help the team, work hard and give 100 percent. I want to get as many goals as I can and assist as much as I can.
“Once I’m helping the team out, that’s the main thing – assists, balls into the box, balls behind, get as many goals as I can.”
While the performance wasn’t a vintage one, ultimately the result was all-important.
“The boys defended well, they were tight at the back and we worked hard, to be fair,” Bargary says.
“To pop up with the goal was just another bonus to help the team out. You always want to go out and win the game, the three points is what it’s all about.
“Cobh were very good, they pressed us from the start. They were on top of us, they didn’t let us play out, but I thought we were good.
“It’s a big squad and everybody’s very good, working hard, looking for places.
“The morale is very high, everybody’s delighted with what we’re doing, so it’s good.”
To that end, Bargary believes that it’s a big help that he and other members of the squad have experience of Colin Healy as a manager from their U19 days.
“It’s very helpful, to be fair, because we know what he wants,” he says.
“He wants us to work hard and give 100 percent. He knows everybody’s strengths and weaknesses, which is a good help to have.
“He has confidence in all of us, which is an even bigger confidence-boost to us as players.”
City’s last game against Cabinteely was an FAI Cup tie in 2019, when a late Ronan Hurley equaliser in extra time was needed to send the game to penalties, which City won. Bargary expects a challenging match again.
“Cabinteely will be tough,” he says, “but it will be a tough season.
“We’re looking forward to it, we have a bit confidence now so we have to kick on and keep going.”
Other than Rob Slevin (back injury), City hope to have a full squad. The first goal last week came from another Cian – Coleman – who has been filling in at centre-back and Healy is happy to keep him there if he continues to do well.
“We had a few injuries and we needed to play him at centre-back and he has done very well in there,” the manager says..
“He’s a great lad, he’s an honest lad and he’ll give everything for the jersey, you saw that the other night, and that’s why he’s playing there at the moment.
“If he keeps playing well, he’ll play there, put it that way! He can play in the centre of the park too, but if he keeps playing well at centre-back, what’s the point of changing him?”