IT’S the third Cork derby of the season and bragging rights have yet to be decided between the two teams.
Although Ramblers are above City in the league, there will be more pressure on City to win the game. City are the bigger club. They are full-time, and they still have ambitions of reaching the play-offs.
I know Cobh fans might read that last part and think, why wouldn’t they have hopes of reaching the play-offs when they are a point ahead of City in the league, but I feel Ramblers are building for next season and the recent dismissal of Stuart Ashton shows that.
Ashton was probably not going to remain in charge of Ramblers next season because of work commitments, and I think the board thought that the play-offs were out of reach and why not give someone an audition for the job.
Darren Murphy is the man that has been given that opportunity, and in his three games since taking over, he has done himself no harm in landing the role on a permanent basis. Victory against City, will go a long way to Murphy being offered a job.
For City, it’s an opportunity to record back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Again, what last week’s impressive win against Galway United shows is that the City players are more than capable of competing with the best on their day.
Against Galway, Colin Healy shaped his team in a 4-4-2 formation and I have always felt that they look at their best when playing that formation. By playing Cian Murphy and Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh upfront together, it worries defenders and the two complement each other.
Murphy runs in behind and works the channels extremely well, and O’Brien-Whitmarsh links the play.
It also means that Dylan McGlade plays in his best position — left-wing — and against Galway, his performance was what I expected from him for the entire season. He was excellent against John Caulfield’s side and was a threat every time he was on the ball.
He draws two, sometimes three opposition players to him which allows City to create an overload somewhere else on the pitch. His willingness to stay on the ball can be his best and one of his negative attributes.
It’s his best because he commits opposition players and can go past them but then when he does, he holds onto the ball too long rather than passing quickly to take advantage of that overload. City fans will be hoping he can continue his recent good form again tonight.
Another player who has shown his importance to the team of late and will be hoping to have a good game again tonight is Darragh Crowley. I was delighted to see him get on the scoresheet against Galway because no other player was more deserving to be rewarded for his hard work. Crowley is the ultimate team player. He’s has played in several positions for the team this season and you always know that you are guaranteed he will give everything when he steps foot on the pitch.
A lot of aspects have improved in Crowley’s game in recent weeks. His crossing has developed, his ability to take on a defender, and now, hopefully, he can add goals to his game. He might not entertain supporters like McGlade does but he compliments his teammate. When playing 4-4-2, a manager cannot pick two wingers that are similar in terms of wanting to be that player that wants to make something happen every time they are on the ball and will conserve energy when it comes to defending.
Crowley is strong in departments that McGlade tends to be weaker at, mainly defending. With 4-4-2, a team cannot afford to have wingers that switch off out of possession, otherwise, the team would always find themselves outnumbered when defending.
I would imagine some City fans will be hoping to see last week’s match-winner Sean Kennedy start the derby but I would be surprised to see the Kerry native in the starting 11.
He has impressed me during his time on the pitch but there’s a big difference between starting a game and coming on. It might be too soon for him to start but what he has done with his performances, is make sure that when Healy is thinking about making a change during the game, Kennedy will be the first player he thinks of.