ANOTHER mediocre performance from Cork City as the season fizzled out at the Bowl on Friday against UCD in a 1-0 defeat.
With very little to write home about it was literally more of the same on the road for City. They've been poor away from Turner's Cross all through this season, with only two league wins in total, against Athlone and Galway, so Colin Healy was no doubt disappointed with his side's performance.
While City enjoyed a lot of possession, they failed to create any clear-cut chances and their indecisiveness at times, allowed UCD to make interceptions which often put City under pressure.
UCD’s attacking force was a threat throughout, in particular U21 international Colm Whelan, who was superb. He converted his penalty which was the only goal of a dour game.
Healy made three changes at the break. Gordon Walker, Dylan McGlade and Alec Byrne replaced Josh Honohan, Gearoid Morrissey and Sean Kennedy.
All three made an impact.
It was a better second-half performance from a stronger City team yet they failed to ignite a misty night in Dublin.
The stubborn students' defence proved too difficult to break down as a converted penalty from Whelan was the only difference between the teams on the night.
UCD prepare for the playoffs but City’s season has gone out with a whimper.
Healy’s halftime changes definitely improved the team but the endemic lack of goals that has haunted this team all season continued on Friday night in Belfield.
Effectively the season was over for City going into Friday night's encounter so that extra bit of fight was always going to be hard to muster.
You’d wonder how many of the team were playing to nail down a place in the squad for next year.
Dave Harrington was given another opportunity ahead of Mark McNulty to show his worth and despite giving away a penalty on Friday night, he did impress in the last few games. I expect to see a lot more of him next season.
This squad has one more chance to show that they have the mettle to get City promoted next season when they meet Galway at Turner’s Cross on Friday week.
It is important to end the season on a high and beating Galway would be a consolation at the end of a challenging season. There certainly are a lot of positives to take from the last couple of games and this is important for next season.
There looks to be a solid enough starting 11 for next season, but to be brutally honest, there need to be some serious quality players brought in if City want to have a realistic chance of being promoted.
We saw towards the end of the season in particular how well the players can play but there still lacked that experienced player along with more leaders and I believe Healy knows how difficult it is to get out of this division, hence why more quality is needed.
City now turn their attention to their final game of the season at home to John Caulfield's Galway on Friday night week.
This will be a big game for Healy. Not only will he want to get the better of John Caulfield's side having felt they left the win behind them last time when the sides drew at the Cross, but Healy will be eager to sign-off on the season with a win.
Meanwhile, Cobh Ramblers secured a shock 2-0 victory over champions Shelbourne.
Goals from Ben O’Riordan and Danny O’Connell helped Darren Murphy's side to a second win in a row which will give them confidence heading into their final game away to Athlone.
Finishing above bottom place was an aim for Murphy towards the end of the season and he will be happy he achieved this and will also be hoping his side can finish the season on a high.
Going for a third consecutive win will be a priority for Murphy and will be a great way to end the season.
In truth, both Cork teams have underachieved this season and both managers will need to go away, regroup and change their squads around if they are to be competitive next season and in the hunt for promotion.