Cork City 1 Cobh Ramblers 0
DARRAGH Crowley’s goal was enough to give Cork City the victory over Cobh Ramblers they needed to send Colin Healy’s side back to the top of the First Division.
There were 2,307 spectators in attendance at Turners Cross on a wet Friday evening including Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny, while Galway United were held to a scoreless draw with Treaty.
City did enough to win but were made to work hard for their victory. On another night, Ramblers could have gotten something from the game. Although the away side had their opportunities, they cannot complain about the outcome of the match.
In Ivan Bevan’s first game in charge of Ramblers as interim manager, the club’s academy director decided to match City up by playing five at the back. Cobh started the game brightly with Jack Hegarty making his presence known in the game early on. Ben O’Riordan will feel he could have done better with his headed effort, with the defender missing the target after he had escaped the City defence from a set-piece.
City reacted to that bright start from the visitors with Cian Murphy, Mark O’Mahony and Aaron Bolger all having strikes on goal.
After a dip in his recent form; Murphy was looking more like himself. The Tipperary native was holding-up balls being played into him and was asking questions of the Ramblers defence with his clever runs. He seemed to have a lot of energy, something that he has been lacking over the past several games.
City began to dominate the game after 15 minutes with the Ramblers players wilting after their impressive start. Ciaran Coates had his effort saved by Sean Barron, with the goalkeeper making the strike appear to be more difficult to stop than it actually was.
Barron’s opposite number David Harrington was called into action after Conor Drinan managed to get a strike off. The City keeper did well in his dealing with the dipping effort, especially considering the wet playing surface at Turner's Cross.
Bolger's presence in the game was very noticeable throughout with the majority of City play coming through the midfielder. He was brave in his play with his willingness to take the ball at every opportunity.
Matt Srbely and James O’Leary both came within inches of giving their side the lead but unfortunately for them and their team, their efforts drifted just wide off the post with Barron and Harrington seemingly beaten on both occasions.
After good work from Cian Bargary on the left-hand side; the City player managed to pick out O’Mahony but the 17-year-old was unable to direct his header on target.
It was a half that lacked any real bite or intensity you would expect from a local derby.
James Doona was introduced as a half-time substitute and the former Athlone Town player had an immediate impact in the game. Doona collected the ball out wide before drifting inside and getting his strike off. Although his effort was off target, it did create a reaction from the crowd - something that was needed in the game.
The home side upped the pressure with the Ramblers’ defenders having to deal with wave after wave of City attacks. Despite having the worst defence in the league, credit must go to the Cobh players for the way they were defending, with every player willing to throw their body on the line to prevent conceding a goal.
Two minutes after being brought on; Crowley gave City the lead. After Barron misread a high looping cross into the six-yard box, Cian Coleman’s headed knockdown left the 22-year-old with the simplest of finishes.
Barron made up for his error when he speculatively denied Coleman from close-range.
City will feel they should have doubled their advantage when Josh Honohan had the ball in the net. However, his goal was ruled out for what seemed a soft foul on Barron.
Cobh were reduced to 10 men when Darragh O’Sullivan Connell was sent-off in injury time.
Harrington; Hakkenin, Honohan, O’Connor; Coates (Doona 46), Coleman, Bolger, Srbely, Bargary; Murphy, O’Mahony (Crowley 63).
Barron; O’Riordan, Franhill, O’Sullivan Connell, Mbayo (Griffin 75), McCarthy (Kavanagh 75); McGrath, Desmond, O’Leary; Drinan, Hegarty (O’Connell 68).