Cork City have make some hard calls to target promotion next season

While recent weeks have seen the Rebel Army improve, there's some distance left to go to gain promotion from the First Division
Cork City have make some hard calls to target promotion next season

Members of the Fitzgerald family arrive to watch Cork City take on Treaty United. Picture: Dan Linehan

IT was a disappointing scoreless draw for Colin Healy’s Cork City last Friday night in the Munster derby against Treaty United, leaving them seventh on the table with 26 points.

City set out not to lose to the same opposition for the third time this season and although they achieved this, they will be frustrated not to have come away with more than a point.

While they didn’t create a lot of scoring chances, they certainly enjoyed the majority of possession and thus Healy will be disappointed to share the spoils. To be fair to Treaty, who are a well-organised unit, they defended excellently and had a game plan which they executed to shut down any real threat from City.

The first half wasn’t a great watch with both sides lacking any real intensity and very little goalmouth action. Maybe the wet conditions played a role?

Dylan McGlade was probably City’s best player and even at that, while he looked exciting on the ball and a threat at times, his final ball was disappointing and the sides were level at the break.

The majority of the second half was much the same as the first with City enjoying lots of possession but again creating very little. They threatened at times with Cian Bargary and McGlade getting forward but excellent defending by Cork native Anthony O’Donnell denied them on each occasion. 

Another Cork native playing for Treaty which also impressed was Steven Christopher. Especially in the later stages of the game, he caused City problems on the left side. 

His deliveries from corner kicks were also a threat but thankfully City dealt well with these. 

He was later substituted in the game for former City player Joel Coustrain. Coustrain found himself in good scoring positions in the final minutes but his touch let him down and one wonders if Christopher had still been on the pitch, would he have been more clinical.

It wasn’t your typical derby with a lot of bite or hunger however it was a tough battle and both sides gave it their all in poor conditions.

The final few minutes were probably the most entertaining part of the game when both sides went at it looking for that all-important goal. They both showed great intensity which was encouraged by the huge support. 

However that goal never came and it was a frustrating result for both clubs, but especially City, who were hoping for a victory to maintain their quest for a play-off spot, even if was a long shot beforehand and is surely out of reach at this stage.

 Cian Bargary, Cork City, holding off Joe Collins, Treaty United, in their SSE Airtricity League First Division match at Markets Field. Picture Dan Linehan
Cian Bargary, Cork City, holding off Joe Collins, Treaty United, in their SSE Airtricity League First Division match at Markets Field. Picture Dan Linehan

Treaty, I imagine, were the happier of the two sides with the point gained as the second consecutive draw keeps them in fourth place. Another important stat was the third clean sheet in a row for former Cork City keeper Tadhg Ryan.

City have four games remaining in the league. Two home games against Wexford and Galway and two away to Bray and UCD. 

None are easy, but that's been case all season really. 

I have no doubt Healy will want to finish the season on a high. However, if he has nothing to play for, then should he take this opportunity to bleed in some of the younger lads and give them a taste of what next year holds for them. 

Will we see the likes of Paul Hunt or Dave Harrington get some game-time in between the posts in place of veteran keeper Mark McNulty?

Yes, City are a club in a transitional period but the longer they are in the First Division, the more difficult it will be to get out of it. Promotion has to be the priority in 2022.

Holding onto the best of the current squad and attracting the type of players that can make a difference will be difficult next year, being outside the top flight and away from Dublin where most are based. 

Onwards and upwards hopefully though. This can start next week with a win over Bray at the Carlisle Grounds.

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