ANOTHER derby but this time it’s a break from league action as Cork City travel to St Colman’s Park on Sunday for the first round of the FAI Cup.
While you’d expect league leaders City to be better than their local rivals Cobh, who currently sit second from bottom, as we all know, form counts for very little when it comes to a cup game.
The last time the sides met back in June, City had the narrowest of wins when Darragh Crowley’s second-half tap-in was enough to secure the three points. However it was a game that Sunday’s hosts dominated and they will take some confidence from that heading into this.
They will also look upon playing at home as a slight advantage. They are in good form, going for three wins in a row, albeit three different competitions, after a league win over Bray and victory over Rockmount in the Munster Cup semi-final.
We have seen City struggle in St Colman’s Park before and sometimes just scrape a win.
I’m sure however they manage to do it, a win is a win and Colin Healy’s men will also be confident they can advance to the next round.
St Colman’s Park a tight pitch which has stopped City from playing football the way they like to, most notably in their league defeat last season. I expect Healy will have his side more prepared to deal with whatever Shane Keegan will throw at them.
I watched Cobh this week compete in the Munster Senior Cup against Rockmount. I was impressed. While it was against an average Rockmount side, who to be fair to them had only returned for pre-season, Cobh still had a lot of positives to take away. They haven’t had it easy this season but they seem to be turning it around and their win over Bray clearly gave them a lot of confidence.
While I understand Rockmount are a MSL team and Cobh should be expected to beat them, Whitechurch is never an easy place to go to and the club are current Intermediate Cup champions. They also lifted the Munster Cup two seasons ago so I have no doubt Keegan will take the win as a boost.
It gave him an opportunity to give players some game time and for the first time in a while, it looks as if players all over the park have competition which is good to see.
City should have a fully fit squad to choose from and I believe Healy will go for a strong starting XI with the hope of advancing to the next stage of the competition. Cup games are always a welcomed break from the league and playing in a derby is an added spice to the game.
I expect the usual from a derby. Big crowd, hard tackles, plenty of passion but hopefully attractive football. It’s always a great venue for games, a great atmosphere especially as two local teams battle it out for bragging rights.
Let’s hope it will be a good one.