Graham Cummins: How long can we use the excuse Cork City have a young team?

After 10 games and a derby defeat to Cobh Ramblers, Colin Healy's side remain mired at the end of the First Division table
Graham Cummins: How long can we use the excuse Cork City have a young team?

Cobh Ramblers captain Ian Turner on the ball against Cork City. Picture: Larry Cummins.

I REALLY don’t know can it get any worse for Cork City. 

One of Ireland’s biggest clubs struggling in the First Division and on the evidence of their poor performance against Cobh Ramblers, City will have to get used to playing in Ireland’s bottom division for some time. 

The lack of quality in the City squad is quite worrying. They can have little complaints about their 1-0 defeat for Ramblers. Yes, City missed some good opportunities to score in the game, but Stuart Aston’s side defended better on the night and most importantly, showed the one bit of quality in the match with their goal.

It was never going to be an easy season for City, but I don’t think anyone could have imagined just how bad things would be after 10 games. How long can the excuse of this being a young City side be acceptable? 

Can City fans wait another 12 months to see if these players can make it at this level? Judging on their performance against Ramblers, I worry will many of these players still be professionals come the beginning of next season. 

Budget restrictions have meant that several of these players are getting an opportunity to play for City. Had Grovemoor’s proposed takeover of City gone through last winter, we would be seeing a very different group of City players lining out for the club. 

There is still a possibility of the takeover happening in the future and these players are been given a chance to show that they deserve to be at the club if that does happen. However, their performances are doing them little favours to show that they are good enough to play for a City side that isn’t restricted by finances.

 Darragh Crowley, Cork City, races through midfield against Cobh Ramblers. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Darragh Crowley, Cork City, races through midfield against Cobh Ramblers. Picture: Larry Cummins.

There was a lack of leadership and responsibility in City’s performance. 

Apart from Cian Bargary in the opening 20 minutes of the game, no player looked like they were going to create that moment of magic. 

The injury to Jonas Hakkinen, saw Dylan McGlade brought on to replace the defender, which meant that Bargary was switched to the right-hand side, which didn’t suit the attacker. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it’s easy for me to say it was a mistake by Colin Healy to switch Bargary, but that was turning point.

The defending for the goal was awful. McGlade showed little effort to stop the cross and Jake Hegarty was given far too much time in the box to score the only goal.

The aspects of City’s game I have praised this year is their work rate and fight for one another but once they went a goal down, you could see the players' heads drop and it was almost as if they felt sorry for themselves and didn’t show enough fight or belief to get an equaliser.

Ramblers striker Hegarty deserved his goal. Apart from the goal Hegarty was excellent on the night and caused City’s defence a lot of problems. 

The former Midleton striker might not be the most mobile but every time the ball was played into Hegarty with any quality, it stuck. He never troubled City defence by running in behind or down channels but bullied the City defence with his strength. 

He’s the best player I’ve seen in the First Division this season at holding up the ball, which is a valuable asset to a team. 

Having a player that can hold-up the ball allows a team to get further up the pitch. His teammates know when it is played into him, they can make runs off. 

Ramblers didn’t use Hegarty enough. I know there are trying to pass the ball through the thirds, but when your striker is playing so well, I don’t see the harm in going more direct more often. 

By not going direct, it meant Ramblers players dropped deep to get the ball and when it did go up to Hegarty, there was a lot of ground for them to make up to support the striker rather than just go long and have players stand next to the Ramblers number 10.

Ramblers weren’t brilliant but showed more hunger and determination than City to dig out a victory. They rode their luck at times and in stages of the games looked dead on their feet. 

The goal gave them something to hang onto. They were never going to let the lead slip once they went in front and deservedly hung on.

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