Waterford v Cork City: Huge game for Colin Healy's side with Galway in pursuit

Galway United have a game in hand and will feel they're right back in the title race if City drop points at the RSC
Waterford v Cork City: Huge game for Colin Healy's side with Galway in pursuit

Cork City's Barry Coffey struck twice at Turner's Cross last weekend but the hosts could only draw with Longford. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FRIDAY: SSE Airtricity League First Division: Waterford v Cork City, RSC, 7.45pm.

THIS is a huge game for Cork City.

Victory would push the Rebel Army on to the brink of promotion back to the Premier Division. Were City to pick up maximum points against Waterford then it would be difficult to make any case for their rivals to deny them the title.

However if they were to drop points against their Munster rivals then the players would I believe start to worry about their promotion dreams.

Defeat for City against Waterford would mean that Galway United would have the chance to overtake City were John Caulfield’s side to beat Cobh Ramblers tonight, then City next week and win their game in hand.

Even a draw would give Galway the opportunity to catch Colin Healy’s team and could potentially see the league decided on goal difference.

The players will be nervous. In normal circumstances, a Munster derby is a tense affair but considering what is at stake for the City players, they will worry about what could happen should they not get the result they want tonight.

This City team have done wonderfully well to put themselves into the position they have. But the job is not yet done and this is a young side and many of them haven’t been in this kind of position before.

That’s why players like Kevin O’Connor and Ally Gilchrist, players with experience, will be crucial over the next number of weeks. Their leadership will be needed not only on the pitch but in the dressing room as well.

It’s important that they do speak to the younger players over the next few weeks and guide them through these anxious times.

Aaron Robinson of Longford Town in action against Darragh Crowley of Cork City last Friday. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile
Aaron Robinson of Longford Town in action against Darragh Crowley of Cork City last Friday. Picture: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

City will welcome back Aaron Bolger and Ruairi Keating after both players missed last week’s draw against Longford Town.

City weren’t at their best against Longford but the additions of Keating and Bolger will make a difference to the side for their clash against Waterford.

Both have been exceptional for City this season. Bolger does give that protection to the back-three and is often the player that provides the link between defence and midfield.

I often say that a player will only really be appreciated for what he brings to the team when he isn’t involved in the side. That was certainly the case with Keating.

He was badly missed against Longford. City were shorn of his presence, link-play and his goalscoring threat.

Many probably thought that when Louis Britton arrived in July that Keating would be the player to miss out, and I’m sure the former Galway striker would have had those thoughts as well, but he has seemed to improve since Britton’s arrival, and it’s clear that Keating is needed in the City team.

It’s just over three weeks since these teams last met in a scoreless match. That night City dominated Waterford and should have won the game.

The Blues couldn’t deal with the tempo City played at that night and I would imagine the message from Healy to his players will be the same as it was that evening.

City didn’t give Waterford a moment’s rest in that match and but for poor finishing from the league leaders, they could have easily won the match by four or five.

Waterford’s strength is their attack. They are one of the best sides in the division going forward.

WEAKNESS

Their weakness is their defence. Their backline is laboured and they don’t enjoy when balls are played down the channel for Cian Murphy to run onto.

Although he made a couple of important saves against the Rebel Army in their last meeting, I do believe that Waterford goalkeeper Paul Martin is vulnerable.

I don’t feel he inspires confidence in his defence. He looks nervous with the ball at his feet and can spill a lot of crosses.

Three weeks ago City didn’t take advantage of his errors. Tonight, they must anticipate that the keeper is going to drop crosses.

If they do; I do believe that the keeper will make an error and a City player will benefit from it.

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