CORK CITY will be hoping that it will be third time lucky when they face Treaty United tonight.
Colin Healy’s men have lost both their encounters with Tommy Barrett’s team this season, and although there is very little to be gained in terms of promotion, City will want to at least earn the bragging rights in this Munster derby.
City’s seven league-game unbeaten run ended against Shelbourne at Turner’s Cross a fortnight ago, which is no shame, considering Shels are the best team in the division and City were without several key players.
Tonight will be another tough task for the Rebel Army.
Treaty are having a fairytale season and look certain to make the play-offs. They have defied the odds this season and behind their success is hard work.
Barrett has assembled a squad of players that are willing to fight for one another. There seem to be no egos in their side. Every player knows they are required to put in a shift and anything less is unacceptable. There’s nothing special about the way in which Treaty play.
Barrett asks his players to give everything they can for the team and if that isn’t good enough to win certain matches, then so be it.
From what I’ve seen of Treaty, you can never fault the players for their lack of effort.
Treaty’s main threat is from set-plays and Healy will have instructed his players about how important it is not to give away needless frees.
However, City will be boosted by the fact that Marc Ludden will be suspended for this match, having received his marching orders in the Limerick’s side’s last outing, against Galway United.
Ludden’s long throws have been one of the reasons for Treaty’s success and I’m sure the City players will be relieved that he won’t be available.
However, perhaps Treaty have another player who possesses a long throw, but I still wouldn’t imagine it will be as good as Ludden’s.
Markets Field is always a difficult place to go and with larger crowds allowed back into stadiums, the City players should expect a hostile reception from the Limerick faithful in this Munster derby.
Against Limerick, I always felt that their crowd saw playing against City as their biggest game of the season, and that their players always upped their game. I would expect the same from Treaty tonight.
It will be interesting to see what line-up City go with tonight.
At this stage, I don’t see the point in playing players that aren’t going to be with the club next season.
Barry Coffey has been outstanding for Cork City, but if the player has no intention of staying with the club, perhaps it’s time for others to be given their opportunity.
My guess is that the club are looking to convince Coffey to stay and that it is up to the player to decide whether he wants to be part of its future.
Aaron Bolger is another player who has only recently arrived at the club and whose future is still unclear.
I don’t believe we are yet to see the best of the former Cardiff City player and I would play him in City’s five remaining fixtures.
There’s no doubt that Bolger is talented, but he looks like a player lacking confidence.
It’s also difficult for a player moving to a new environment and, unfortunately, for Bolger, because of the timing of his move, he hasn’t had time to settle in.
He seems motivated to get back to the top, but he needs to start believing in himself and to start to dominate games.
He has shown glimpses of his ability during his brief time in a City jersey, but City fans are still waiting to see the player that broke onto the scene at Shamrock Rovers and looked one of the top midfielders in the league.
City fans are itching to see Cathal Heffernan in action, but tonight might not be the fixture in which we witness the 16-year-old make his debut.
I think Healy will be very cautious about giving Heffernan his debut in a Munster derby, especially against a team that will put a lot of balls into the box.
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