Conor Hayes is here with three conclusions from the recent Gameweek in the League of Ireland, where Colin Healy was the star for Cork City.
1. Colin Healy gives Cork fans a moment they’ll never forget
Supporting a team in the League of Ireland can be tough. There’s often very little pay-off for your unwavering loyalty, your team and league are ignored by vast swathes of your country’s population while suffering redundant comparisons with your neighbour’s domestic product, which happens to be the richest league in the world.
Going to any sport regularly is an exercise in hope. You hope your team will win, obviously, but you also hope you might see something unexpected, something utterly brilliant, something so you can say ‘I was there.’ It doesn’t happen all too often and thank god, because moments like that are supposed to be special.
Colin Healy gave Cork supporters one of those rarities on Friday evening as his audacious overhead kick sailed into the top corner in the final minute of a crucial clash with St Pat’s. It was a goal of astounding brilliance from a player who has refused to be overshadowed by the arrival of two fellow former midfield internationals to the league this year.
Those privileged enough to see it in the flesh, probably couldn’t believe their luck as they walked out of the ground on Friday. Cork may fall just short in the title race this year, but they’ll always have Healy’s bicycle kick in front of The Shed. It was reminder for them and for us all that this league will always be worth the effort.
2. Martin Russell is enjoying a good start at Limerick
Limerick eventually pulled away from Bray last week at Thomond Park to secure their second 4-1 triumph in a row. It was a nice follow-up to their hammering of Shamrock Rovers which among other things accounted for the sacking of Trevor Croly.
Martin Russell seems to have put his stamp on the side quite quickly and they already seem to be playing a far improved brand of football from the more robust approach of Stuart Taylor. Limerick were busy on transfer deadline day and while bringing Joey Ndo brought the most headlines, the signing of Lee Lynch already looks like the best piece of business. The former Pat’s man has provided assists and a goal in his two games since returning to his hometown club.
Fans of the Shannonsiders will hope this is more than simply a new manager bounce and that Russell is showing signs that next season they can be more than simply a mid-table side.
Speaking of good starts…
3. Fenlon’s arrival has come a few weeks too late for Rovers
Pat Fenlon secured a win in his debut as Shamrock Rovers against Derry on Friday night. The 2-0 victory was an impressive result against a City side that have been in scintillating form in recent weeks. Although Dundalk dropped points on the same night in the Louth derby it’s hard to see how Shamrock Rovers can make up the ten points deficit between now and the end of the season.
That won’t stop Fenlon and company trying of course, but many Rovers supporters must be wondering what might have been if the club had acted quickly during Croly’s reign when it clearly wasn’t working. The wide gap between Rovers and Dundalk will lower expectations for Fenlon and allow him to take stock of his squad in an attempt to hit the ground running next season. So perhaps the five time title winner is more than a little relieved Rovers held their fire.
Conor Hayes, Pundit Arena.