Cork City manager Colin Healy is keen not to reach for excuses in the wake of the side suffering defeat to Cabinteely in last Friday night’s SSE Airtricity League First Division clash at Stradbrook Road.
Having beaten Cobh Ramblers 2-1 at Turner’s Cross in their opening game, City fell to a 1-0 loss in their second, with a deflected strike from the hosts’ captain Keith Dalton early in the second half proving decisive.
While City have retained a number of players from last season, there also been a notable amount of player churn, but Healy doesn’t think that time to gel is an issue.
“No, I wouldn’t say that,” he says.
“The lads have been here long enough and we’ve had two league games now already, so we can’t make excuses like that.
“They’re in now, we just need to put our heads down, work hard and look forward to next week.”
Prior to Dalton’s goal, City had had more of the play but, though there were some chances for an equaliser, they couldn’t find a way past the hosts’ goalkeeper Adam Hayden.
“It’s very disappointing,” Healy says.
“I thought, in the first half, we started poorly and probably got into it after about 25 minutes.
“They got the one chance, deflection and it went in. After that, it was all us, we had all the possession and had a few chances but we couldn’t score on the night.
“Obviously, conceding a goal is always going to knock you back, but I thought we had a good reaction from the players.
“We had good chances but unfortunately it wasn’t to be our night.”
Essentially, the game summed up the tight nature of the First Division, with up to a half-dozen teams in contention for the promotion spots and games decided by tight margins. That Cabinteely were such difficult opponents was not a surprise to Healy.
“There are a lot of teams in the mix and you could see that on Friday night,” he says.
“They were organised, they were well set-up and we found it hard to break them down.
“It’s going to be difficult every week, it is, and we know that as well.”
Next up is a clash with Athlone Town at Turner’s Cross on Friday – the first of two consecutive home games, with Shelbourne coming south the following week. With Athlone having enjoyed an excellent 3-1 win over John Caulfield’s Galway United on Friday, Healy knows that the Rebel Army’s challenge will be another tricky one.
“The players know that, and it’s no different to Cabinteely,” he says.
“We knew going up there that it was going to be a difficult game. As I say, they defended well, they got their chance and they took it and, unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances.”