Preview: Cork City and Cobh Ramblers both badly need a victory

Mired in the bottom half of the table, Friday's Cork derby is huge for both clubs
Preview: Cork City and Cobh Ramblers both badly need a victory

Cobh Ramblers Conor Drinan is tackled by Cork City's Jack Baxter earlier this season at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A HUGE derby clash in store tonight, as Cork City travel to St Colman’s Park to take on rivals Cobh Ramblers.

Another close but tough game is expected and it’s a game that both sides are desperately seeking a win.

Colin Healy’s Cork City side are on the back of a 1-1 draw with John Caulfield’s Galway last weekend while Cobh suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Athlone. The visitors should be the more confident of the two, though these types of matches are nearly always closely fought.

Healy said during this week’s press conference that he is expecting a tough encounter.

“It will be a very difficult game, it always is against Cobh and especially in St Colman’s Park with it being a tighter pitch.

“Stuart Ashton will no doubt have his side very organised and they will be tough to break down however I hope our lads can continue to improve on performances and get three points.”

City are unbeaten in their previous four games yet they are still looking for their third win of the season. Scoring has been a huge problem for Healy’s side however he is happy with the improvement in defence and feels this will give the lads confidence to push on and do better at the other end.

“Thankfully we have tightened up a lot in defence and avoided conceding sloppy goals in our last few games. This certainly has boosted the lads a bit and I am happy with how our performances have got stronger with every game and that can only be a positive for the team overall.

Obviously I would prefer if we were in a better position on the table but there’s no need for panic yet. It will take time and once I know there are improvements I’m happy with that.

“It was disappointing to concede such a late goal last week against Galway and that is something we need to work on as we cannot afford to switch off so late in the game and risk the chance of throwing away points. It’s just not good enough.”

Even at this early stage of the competition, it’s clear this year’s campaign is the toughest it’s been for years. Nonetheless, it’s still surprising and disappointing to see two Cork teams near the bottom.

Cobh Ramblers second from bottom on five points while City just one position ahead of them on nine. This result won’t make a difference to either team in terms of position on the table but this certainly won’t take away from both teams vying for that win and I expect a tough battle between the sides.

TOO CLOSE TO CALL?

The last time the sides met was in March in the opening game of the season and although Cork City came away with the three points after a 2-1 victory, it was Cobh who played the better football and definitely deserved at least a draw from that game. I imagine a different game tonight though as it’s fair to say City have improved since that opening fixture while Cobh have struggled with injuries and could field a different starting XI.

The last three derbies in St Colman’s Park have resulted in a draw. Do I expect the same?

No, I don’t think so. I reckon it will be a close game but I predict City may just pip them for the victory. If this is the case, it will be City’s first away win since May 2019.

As already mentioned so many times this season, it will be a pity not having a crowd for what would almost certainly have been a sell-out. I always love the visit to St Colman’s Park where an atmosphere is always guaranteed.

Let’s hope the lack of fans won’t take away from an enjoyable game of ball.

Hopefully, by the next time these sides meet on August 13 in Turner’s Cross, we can have a packed stadium for the players to enjoy what should be a memorable occasion.

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