Cobh Ramblers 0
Cork City 2

By Joe Hurley

Conor O’Grady returned to competitive action with Cork City’s under21 side last night as they recorded a 2-0 win away to near neighbours Cobh Ramblers. But, after taking a knock in the first half, his comeback was limited to 45 minutes and he was substituted as a precaution at the interval.

O’Grady will see a physio today and is hopeful that this latest injury isn’t serious. Having picked up the Supporters Club Player of the Year award last season, this season has seen a contrast in fortunes for the Sligo man and he has spent more time on the sidelines than the pitch.

“I think I only missed one league game last year and this year I’ve only played four or five – that’s just the way it goes,” he admits. “Hopefully this is only a twinge and I’ll get three or four games under my belt before the end of the season and come back next year all guns blazing.”

A win last night was vital if City were to get back into contention for a place in the knock-out stages of the eircom under21 League and they began the match on the attack. Shane Browne, John Andrews and Denis Behan all had chances to open the scoring before Ramblers’ first attack of note in the 24th minute.

By far the busier of the keepers on the night was Adrian O’Donovan in the Ramblers goal, but chances were at a premium on a cold, wet night in St. Coleman’s Park and the first half finished scoreless.

The second half began in similar fashion with City on top, but O’Donovan was on hand to keep the visitors at bay. However there was nothing he could do about City’s opening goal, which came in the 65th minute. A City corner was only half cleared to David Warren who was able to pick out Behan at the back post and the striker had time to control the ball on his chest before volleying to the back of the net.

A couple of brave saves from Mark McNulty kept City in front as the home side went in search of an equaliser, but in the 80th minute Behan capitalised on a mistake in the Ramblers defence to score his second of the night and secure all three points for City.

The win moves City to within touching distance of second place Waterford United, who they face at the weekend. Three points from that encounter will give Stuart Ashton’s side a real chance of a top two finish and a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

“As far as we’re concerned it’s not over yet,” says Ashton. “There’s three games left and we’re going to go all out to try and win those. Hopefully the other results will be in our favour as well and we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Cork City: M McNulty; R Aherne, K Murray, J Andrews, D Roddis; D Warren, C O'Grady (D Swaine half-time), S Browne, O Lougheed; D Behan, D Buckley (J Nolan 77mins).

Cobh Ramblers: A O’Donovan; K O’Brien, J Meade, T Hughes D Murphy; P Stanton, J Cummins, G O’Donovan, E Conlon; K Buckley and A Depuis.