AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport.
Cork City were never expected to challenge for promotion last season as the club turned to youth to help steady the ship, following a turbulent few years on and off the field of play. From early on last year, it was clear Cork City would match those low expectations as the gap between the Rebels and the play-off places grew bigger and bigger.
However, a strong second half to the season saw confidence levels in this young Cork side grow and having got the vast majority of their business done earlier than most, expectation levels on Leeside are once again starting to rise.
Colin Healy has been allowed to supplement promising young players with some much needed experience with the likes of All Gilchrist and Ruairi Keating the stand-out signings, while City have managed to retain their x-factor player in Dylan McGlade as well as promising young striker, Cian Murphy who is the bookmakers favourite to be the division’s top goalscorer.
Now, whether or not such transfer business and another year of experience under everyone’s belt will be enough to take a team who missed out on a top five finish last season to being top contenders this season remains to be seen. It’s a big bridge to try and cross in the space of just one season but of course, there is no Shelbourne in the division this season. The Reds blew everyone out of the water last year and there does not appear to be a rock-solid favourite this time around even if the bookmakers are pointing towards Waterford.
There is also the question of how this young Cork team will deal with the added levels of expectancy from the Turners Cross faithful this season? A pressure that was rarely felt in 2021 but we know Cork City fans are as demanding as they are passionate and that will be something Colin Healy will have to deal with a lot more this term.
BTS PREDICTION: Play-offs
STAR PERFORMER: Cian Murphy (Plays like a striker beyond his years).
ONE TO WATCH: Cian Coleman (Showed bags of promise early in his career, really needs to kick on this season).