Cork City benefit from squad depth as they battle for First Division glory

Colin Healy's side have a weekend free from league action before they take on Galway at Turner's Cross
Cork City benefit from squad depth as they battle for First Division glory

Cork goalkeeper David Harrington picked up three points to celebrate his birthday last Friday. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

CORK City’s great form continued on Friday with a 3-1 win away to Bray at the Carlisle Grounds.

It was the home side who started the brighter before Cian Murphy found the back of the net having got on the end of a perfect through ball from Matt Serbly after just 15 minutes and City never looked like losing from there.

The last time the sides met in the same venue, City had a comfortable 6-0 victory but Friday’s game was never going to be that easy. We knew that from their previous meeting in Turners Cross when the sides drew level.

Colin Healy went with the same side that played against Treaty. I had expected Dylan McGlade to get more game time than he did (17 mins), but I understand it’s difficult to change anything at the moment when the team is performing so well. 

I do expect him to get back into the starting 11 again soon as his presence is a huge threat going forward. 

There is also new signing Louis Britton still to come into the side so competition for places up top is the most intense it’s been for a long time and that’s a good thing.

Last Friday we saw that City are solid in the back line and at times in the game, I felt they even sat back a little too much. This could be a game plan of Healy’s as on a number of occasions when the pressure was piled on the City defence, they were composed and then looked to gain advantage on the counter. 

PACE

They have the pace up top to do so, so why not.

It was a game in which I thought City looked comfortable throughout however the sides were pretty much even in terms of possession. The early goal from Murphy did settle City and give them that extra confidence and freedom to be more creative which resulted in them doubling their lead before the break. 

While Hakkinen took full advantage of a mistake from Bray's keeper, City really should have been ahead before this. Ruairí Keating and James Doona both had glorious chances so the goal from Hakkinen would have softened the blow at half-time and the 2-0 lead was richly deserved.

The second half was much the same as the first however both sides created a little bit more up top. Doona and Cian Murphy linked up excellently and were causing The Seagulls a lot of problems. 

Cork City manager Colin Healy. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Cork City manager Colin Healy. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

At the other end, Callum Thompson should have closed the gap but his effort from close range went inches wide. Not long afterwards Darragh Lynch managed to do so as his bullet header fired past David Harrington, who on Friday celebrated his 22nd birthday. While he would have been annoyed to concede, I’m sure he was delighted to mark the occasion with the three points earned.

City managed to widen the gap once again when another mistake from the Bray keeper saw Keating capitalise as he headed home to finish the scoring. And bring an end to a great win for City.

It was a huge three points for City and their four-point lead at the top remains. They have a free weekend from league action this weekend however they will host Stoke in a friendly on Saturday before preparations begin again for a top-of-the-table clash as they host Galway the following Friday. 

It's a showdown that will pack Turner's Cross. While Galway dropped points recently, they were back to winning ways on Friday against Waterford so their confidence will be high and they will be eager to close the gap on the leaders.

There is a great buzz around the squad at the moment. And for Healy it’s looking very positive in the run-up to the last period of the season. While it may be a headache for Healy having such a depth in his squad to choose from, it’s a great complaint and can only benefit the squad going forward. 

There seems to be a lot of competition for places right throughout the squad and this I believe will play a key role in City getting back to playing in the top tier of football next season.”

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