Cork City keep heading in the right direction after a slow start

Promotion is out of reach for the Rebel Army but the signs are encouraging again at Turner's Cross
Cork City keep heading in the right direction after a slow start

Cork City's Cian Murphy and Athlone Town's Scott Delaney go high for the ball. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

SEVEN games unbeaten in the league, Cork City now lie sixth on the table with 25 points in the SSE Airtricity First Division.

An impressive 3-1 win over Athlone in Turner’s Cross will set City up nicely and full of confidence heading into next Friday’s game against league leaders Shelbourne.

Last Friday’s game against Athlone was an entertaining watch for about the first 30 minutes and after that, it was like watching a training session if I’m being honest.

That’s no disrespect to City who played really well however I just thought Athlone offered absolutely nothing throughout and therefore made the game quite boring.

Were City that good that they made Athlone look that bad? To be honest I suppose there was a bit of both.

City played some great football but I still think Athlone were a poor outfit. I expected more from them after their recent 1-0 victory over John Caulfield’s Galway. They never recovered from City’s blistering opening quarter.

City got off to the best possible start when Barry Coffey scored within the first two minutes blasting to the net, albeit from about three yards. Minutes later City doubled their lead when a poor pass back from Athlone defender Kilian Cantwell to his keeper, was under-hit and intercepted by Cian Murphy who coolly slotted home to double City’s lead.

Cork City's Barry Coffey scores the opening goal from Athlone Town's Adam Wixted during the SSE Airtricity First Division game at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork City's Barry Coffey scores the opening goal from Athlone Town's Adam Wixted during the SSE Airtricity First Division game at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

And on the 25th minute Dylan McGlade finished the game as a contest when he unleashed an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net to make it 3-0.

Credit to McGlade he has superb skill and although he gets a lot of flack for not releasing the ball, last Friday’s game was an opportunity for him to be greedy and it gave the supporters a chance to see how good he really is. To have the likes of McGlade and Bargarry on the flanks, City should trouble any defence.

Three down for Athlone and at this point I feared for Paul Doolin’s side and wondered if it would be a repeat of their 6-0 thrashing in which they had against UCD which led to the departure of manager Adrian Carberry.

However, credit to Athlone they managed to pull one back early in the second half through Kurtis Byrne but for the majority of the game, it seemed the visitors had only one thing in mind and that was to keep the score down, and just defend. They had 10 behind the ball for the remainder of the game which made it difficult for City to add to their tally.

Overall, I imagine Colin Healy will be happy with the performance, and of course the three points. Healy made three changes to the starting XI from the previous game against St Pat’s. Jack Walsh, Cian Bargarry and Aaron Bolger started ahead of Alec Byrne, Beneoin O’Brien Whitmarsh and George Heaven.

Game-time was badly needed for Walsh and last Friday he played almost an hour before being replaced by Whitmarsh. I thought he held the ball up really well but at times his distribution wasn’t as crisp as normal, but that was expected with his lack of action recently.

Judging by his body language leaving the pitch, he wasn’t too happy with either his performance or being substituted.

Bargarry was a joy to watch as his energy and his ability to get past players were a threat all evening.

And while Bolger wasn’t on the ball much, what he did was effective and his ability to break up play is great to see.

Healy now seems to have plenty of options and that’s still without the injured Gearoid Morrissey, Steven Beattie and Jonas Hakkinen. Hopefully, they can keep the unbeaten run going and this will make an exciting end to the season.

Meanwhile, Cobh Ramblers suffered another league defeat, this time against Munster rivals Treaty United. A disappointing 3-0 loss for Darren Murphy’s side makes things difficult heading into Friday’s game against Wexford, with them badly needing a win.

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