Cork City v Drogheda: Losing isn't an option at Turner's Cross

Graham Cummins on why Colin Healy's side can't afford a defeat against their relegation rivals
Cork City v Drogheda: Losing isn't an option at Turner's Cross

Cork City's Joe O'Brien-Whitmarsh is tackled by Waterford's Wassim Aouachria at Ozier Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FRIDAY: SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Cork City v Drogheda United, Turner's Cross, 7.45pm 

AFTER two weeks without a fixture, Cork City return to league action against Drogheda in what could already be called a must-win game. 

Victory for City and they would leapfrog their opponents in the table, albeit only on goal difference, but defeat would see them trailing the Louth side by six points which could be significant come the end of the season. 

Before City’s last fixture against Shelbourne, a game they ended up losing, I wrote that it had been a good start to the season for them. 

That defeat hasn’t changed my mind about the Rebel Army.  I still believe that the players and supporters should be satisfied with the club’s points tally this campaign. 

However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think City are in a relegation battle this season. For me, UCD will automatically go down and that relegation/playoff spot could very well be occupied by either City or Drogheda come the end of the season. That's why I believe that this is a huge game for both sides.

City don’t want to be six points adrift already of probably their main rival for the relegation/playoff position. A draw wouldn’t be the worst result, as it would still maintain a three-point gap between the sides, but in truth, this is a game City must be winning. 

Cork City manager Colin Healy on the sideline against Waterford. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork City manager Colin Healy on the sideline against Waterford. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Both teams come into the match on the back of defeat (I don’t count City’s MSC victory over Waterford as that fixture would have been meaningless to many in the team), and I imagine none of the sides were pleased with the timing of the international break, as it meant that they had two weeks of not being able to correct their defeats.

However, the break gives the players no excuses not to be at top level for the game. They have had two weeks to prepare and learn about their opponents. They should be fresh after their mini-break, and I would imagine they will be itching to get onto the pitch.

The City players have to at it from the first whistle and give fans hope that they are in for an enjoyable night. 


Against Shels; the players never got going and that was replicated by the subdued atmosphere at Turner's Cross. Vocal fans do give players that little bit of extra energy, but against Shels, it was rare that the fans broke into full voice. 

I do accept the fans need to see the team doing something on the pitch to give them something to shout about; the players didn’t do that night. 

The players need to be on form from the first whistle against Drogheda, otherwise, a similar performance to that against Shels, could see a subdued atmosphere from the supporters perhaps turn into a more hostile one for players, where the fans start to vent their frustrations. I wouldn’t recommend that supporters do this should the worst happen in the fixture but I would understand it.

It's hard to predict the City team for this one. I hope that Daniel Krezic is restored to the City starting 11, after missing out against Shels. He’s a player that does excite me when in possession, as he is direct and wants to make positive runs on and off the ball. He has great delivery from wide areas and if I were Ruairi Keating, Krezic is a player I would want on the wing as he will get the ball into the danger areas and help Keating get goals.

City’s lack of a natural left-back has hindered them this season. They are unbalanced without a natural left footer on that side. 

When playing four at the back, I feel it is important to have natural right and left-footed players playing in fullback areas. It gives balance to the team. Perhaps because of the lack of a left-footer, City might go back to a back-three, as that system does not depend as much on having left-footers in the wide area. 

Whoever plays, I’m sure they will know that this is a crucial game and three points are almost a must.

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