AFTER seeing his side defeated for the first time in over two months in the league, Cork City manager Colin Healy was disappointed in the manner in which his side conceded both goals against Shelbourne on Friday night.
City were without several key players including Cian Coleman and Gordon Walker, which meant that Alec Byrne and Darragh Crowley begun the game as City’s centre-backs, but speaking after the game, Healy did not want to make any excuses for his side’s defending for both of Ryan Brennan’s goals.
"I think we gifted them two soft goals, but it’s a tough one to take. They are a good side. We had a few suspensions. We had a few injuries but I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We were beaten tonight and it’s a hard one to take.
“They started well. They are very direct, and Michael O’Connor is a handful. He caused us problems tonight.
"We had Alec and Darragh Crowley back there doing a job for us because of the suspensions and injuries that we have, and they caused us problems. They were putting backs in behind, and they got their goal from a cross. I think we could have dealt with it better, but we didn’t.
“I thought the second half was better. I thought we had a few chances that we could have scored but then we gave them a penalty.
“The lads went in. I asked them to do a job for me and the did. They are not centre-backs, they are midfielders. The two boys have been brilliant for me.
"I asked them to go in and do a job and there was no ‘I don’t want to’. They went in and they did ok. They were up against very good players as well. I know Darragh could have dealt with the long ball and he’s slide in and give away the penalty, but he’s gone in and done a job for us and I was happy with the boy’s performance.
"He’s not a centre-back. Alec Byrne isn’t a centre-back but they had to play there for the team and they did a job and we have got a lot of respect for them for that.“
With City choices limited because of their injury and suspension list, Healy did have the option of handing Cathal Heffernan is debut at centre-back but the City boss felt it would have been too much to ask of the 16-year-old to play his third game in six days, having represented the Republic of Ireland U17s twice against Mexico on the previous Sunday and Tuesday to Friday’s game.
“We had young Cathal Heffernan on the bench but he played two games with the U17s this week, so I thought it would have been unfair to have thrown him in. I was considering it but I went with the lads with more experience. I went with them. I just didn’t think it was right to throw in Cathal because he’s played a few games this week.”
Although City suffered defeat, Healy was delighted to see over 2,000 supporters back at Turner's Cross for the game and praised the City supporters for the atmosphere they created.
“It’s brilliant to see them back and it’s a shame we couldn’t get the result for them. But it’s great, and the players love playing in front of that. That’s what we want. That’s what we want every week and hopefully, that continues, and hopefully, we can get good results for them to keep coming back and get them enjoying what they are seeing.”