Analysis: Cork City determined to finish the season on a high

Barbara O'Connell reflects on City's 4-0 home victory over Wexford and what it means for 2022
Analysis: Cork City determined to finish the season on a high

Cork City goalkeeper David Harrington claims a high ball against Wexford at Turner's Cross. Picture: Howard Crowdy

FOUR goals — and, more importantly, three points — for Colin Healy’s Cork City after they beat Wexford on Friday at Turner’s Cross.

While Wexford are bottom of the table, that doesn’t take away from a good City performance. They dominated Wexford.

It was a game I expected to be more of a challenge, considering the run of form Wexford had been on prior to Friday’s game. They had three great wins (over Athlone, UCD, and Cobh), so I expected a tougher challenge.

To be fair, they did play 50 minutes with 10 men, after the dismissal of Lorcan Fitzgerald, who received a straight red for kicking out at Barry Coffey.

Cork City's Aaron Bolger battling against Wexford at Turner's Cross on Friday night. Picture: Howard Crowdy
Cork City's Aaron Bolger battling against Wexford at Turner's Cross on Friday night. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Apart from the visitors being a man down, they offered very little. They made City look like a top side. In saying that, City looked comfortable, and they played with confidence. They scored four goals, well taken by Cian Murphy, by Barry Coffey, by Cian Bargarry, and by Dylan McGlade.

Wexford rarely troubled Dave Harrington in the City goal.

Earlier last week, I had said these remaining games were an opportunity for Healy to give players some game time. However, Healy had other plans and his priority was to win the final three games and, thus, he wasn’t going to jeopardise a strong starting XI.

While we didn’t see any of the fringe players get a lot of game time, I was delighted Healy kept David Harrington in the side. The City goalkeeper had done well against Bray and deserved another start on Friday.

Jonas Hakkinen came back into the side, while the impressive Sean Kennedy got his first start of the season. Alex Byrne also came back into the line-up and all played a huge role in City’s win.

For me to see the likes of Harrington and Sean Kennedy do so well, I have to question why we haven’t seen more of them all season. Harrington has a huge presence in goal, and was very vocal and very comfortable with the ball at his feet.

Kennedy really impressed me. His work-rate was second to none, he consistently made clever runs, and had a superb assist for City’s first goal, which was scored by Murphy.

It was great to see Hakkinen back in the side before the end of the season and credit to him, he put in a great performance and looked very comfortable.

City’s great performance may have come a bit late in the season, but it’s all about finishing on a high and building for next season. 

There are a lot of positives to take from last Friday’s game. City played with confidence, and they looked solid at the back, with Gordon Walker, Cian Coleman, Hakkinen, and Ronan Hurley.

Going forward, they have plenty of threat, with Bargarry, Cian Murphy, McGlade, Kennedy, and Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh all capable of scoring goals.

Aaron Bolger and Barry Coffey are two players I look forward to seeing. They seem to be coming more and more into games and their link-up play has been a joy to watch, with Coffey getting on the scoresheet again last Friday and his joy was obvious in his celebrations.

It was great to see so many goals scored and because of this, it gave Healy an opportunity to empty his bench. Darragh Crowley, Luke Desmond, Dale Holland, O’Brien Whitmarsh, and McGlade replaced Byrne, Kennedy, Walker, Bargarry, and Murphy.

Again, this is another positive for next season.

Some quality youngsters are coming through and I hope we can see more of them in the remaining two games, as it will give us more of an insight into what we can expect next season.

Meanwhile, Cobh had a long-awaited victory as they overcame Cabinteely 2-1. That win and a loss for Wexford were huge for Darren Murphy’s side, so let’s hope both Cork sides can finish on a high this season.

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