Cork City and Shels will be a cracker for fans returning to Turner's Cross

Rebel Army have found their form at the right time to take on the league leaders
Cork City and Shels will be a cracker for fans returning to Turner's Cross

Dylan McGlade of Cork City celebrates after scoring his side's third goal against Athlone Town at Turner's Cross. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

FRIDAY night is an opportunity to play against the league leaders with the biggest crowd of the season, which will be a huge motivation for Colin Healy’s Cork City to put points on the table.

City host Shelbourne at the Cross in front and let’s hope they can continue their recent good form and put on a performance for these dedicated supporters.

Healy’s side head into this game on the back of a comfortable 3-1 victory over Athlone while Shels enjoyed a 4-0 win over bottom side Wexford.

It’s the perfect timing to play the top side as City have been getting better with every game and if they can play as well as they did last week, especially their first-half performance against Athlone, they've a great chance.

The crowd will make a massive difference to the game also. We saw last week how great the supporters were and this was evident in how the lads performed. For a lot of these young lads, a crowd last week was new to them, so imagine if we can have 3,000 fans there, how great that will be for the youngsters. 

Did the lack of fans in grounds for so long help this young group? Maybe it gave them a chance to gain confidence and now that they have a rhythm going, supporters can motivate them that little bit more.

Earlier in the season although the lads seemed to be giving it their all for Healy, it just wasn’t good enough. Lack of goals being scored and conceding sloppy goals at the other end as well as costly individual errors resulted in a lot of dropped points. 

Thankfully they have turned things around now and credit to Healy for that. His side are no longer conceding sloppy goals, they are defending really well and more importantly, they are scoring some great goals which has been spread out by a number of players within the team.

Cian Murphy, Beneoin O’Brien Whitmarsh, Dylan McGlade, Jack Walsh and Barry Coffey are all well able to put the ball in the back of the net, with the latter scoring four in four games which is something we lacked for a while, a scoring midfielder.

Dan Blackbyrne of Cabinteely in action against Beineón O'Brien-Whitmarsh of Cork City. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dan Blackbyrne of Cabinteely in action against Beineón O'Brien-Whitmarsh of Cork City. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

City have yet to get the better of Ian Morris' men this season with the Dublin outfit winning both games, 3-1 and 2-1. Cian Murphy and Dylan McGlade scoring in those games. The last time the sides met was back in June which resulted in 2-1 however it will be a totally different City side tonight as four of the starting XI from that game aren’t expected to play. 

Jack Baxter has left the club while Jonas Hakkinen, Steven Beattie and Gearoid Morrissey are still out due to injury. Lads have come into the team due to injuries and as Healy has said from the beginning, it’s an opportunity for the youngsters to take their chance, to play for the club and the fans and credit to them for doing so and so well. 

While we hope for the return of the injured players, many of them being the most experienced in the squad, Healy stated at the recent press conference how difficult it will be for the lads to get back into the squad.

“It will be great to have the lads back from injury but of course they will have to work hard to gain their place back in the squad,” said Healy. 

"This competition can only be a good thing as it drives the rest of the players to keep on their toes. It’s healthy competition and can only be for the better of the team. 

The lads who have come in have done really well and it will take a lot for them to be pushed out of the squad.” 

It’s been a great few weeks for the lads unbeaten in seven league games. If they can keep this up it will make it a very entertaining end to the season.

Meanwhile, Cobh travel to Wexford which is a battle of the bottom two. A win here is vital really for Darren Murphy’s side after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Treaty last weekend as he will want his lads to bounce back and gain some confidence to carry through for the remainder of the season.

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