Cork City v Treaty United: Big games keep coming for Colin Healy's side

On top of the league by a nose, the Rebel Army can't afford any slip-ups with Galway lurking
Cork City v Treaty United: Big games keep coming for Colin Healy's side

Cobh Ramblers' Sean Barron punches clear under pressure from Cork City's Cian Murphy, during their SSE Airtricity League First Division clash at Turner's Cross. Picture: David Keane.

TONIGHT: SSE Airtricity League First Division: Treaty United v Cork City, Markets Field, 7.45pm.

THERE are many twists and turns left in the first division title race, but another victory in their Munster derby against Treaty would go a long way to helping City secure their place back in the top-flight of Irish football.

This will be a tough game for City. I don’t believe they hit top gear against Cobh Ramblers in their last outing and they will need to be at their best to overcome a Treaty side who have returned in good form from the mid-season break.

Sometimes in football; you become a better player when you aren’t playing. That perhaps can be said about Ruairi Keating after his absence from the team over the last two games.

The striker is a real presence for City, particularly in away games. Fans are still on the fence whether or not Keating is the real deal or if he is good enough to get the club back into the top tier.

I think after the last two games, fans will start to appreciate what Keating brings to the team that little bit more. 

He is not a traditional target man but he is a focal point in the team. He also is the best striker at the club for bringing players into the game.

He knows his strengths, which are; get the ball into him, pass it to a team-mate and get into the box. Although he hasn’t played since that Galway United game, which is just over four weeks ago, his freshness will be another benefit to the team considering that this is City second game in four days.

Despite two games in four days being demanding, City have an excellent record in those circumstances this season. Colin Healy’s side have won three of their three fixtures that have followed a previous encounter three days previous, including defeating tonight’s opponents 3-0 in their last meeting at the Turner’s Cross.

However, City are low on numbers at this time with their injury list mounting. Ally Gilchrist and Matt Healy could return to the matchday squad with the former seemingly close to a return to full fitness. Were Healy to return, it would be a huge advantage considering the way you would expect Treaty to set up against City.

A young supporter enters the field of play recently when Treaty United met Waterford. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
A young supporter enters the field of play recently when Treaty United met Waterford. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

The Limerick outfit have tended to sit-off in the side’s previous meets and Healy’s ability to score from long-distance would be an advantage on the pitch. Besides Healy showing already this season that he can produce something out of nothing, his presence on the pitch would cause the Treaty players to be cautious about defending deep.

They would be worried that if they stood off Healy and allowed him the opportunity of getting a strike off then the ball could end up in the back of the net. However, the Treaty players will also be worried that if they do step up, to close down Healy, then they are leaving space in behind their defence for a through ball.

Treaty are certainly suffering from second-season syndrome. Tommy Barrett’s side surprised many last year, but teams have figured out how to play against them.

It seems the best that the Limerick outfit can hope for this campaign is a fifth-place finish, which of course would be a good achievement considering their budget.

They have a fight on their hands to fill that last play-off position, whereas last year it was a given they would end up in the play-offs.

After two disappointing performances and results against City this season, Treaty will, I would imagine, make this game more of a battle for their opponents. In the two encounters they have probably shown City too much respect and stood off and admired Healy’s team rather than get in their faces and make it a difficult game for the City players.

I would also imagine that the City players won’t be naive to think that because of their past meetings that this will be an easy game. I’m sure they will be aware that it will be a battle and that they are going to work extremely hard for a victory.

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