Every now and again sport pits a minnow against the might of a bigger more successful entity and battling in the face of adversity the minnow wins. It’s a tale we are all familiar with. Typically these results are based on a mixture of unyielding commitment by the minnow and ambivalence by the mighty. Last night in Turners Cross almost 7,000 witnessed Cork City defeat a Manchester United XI selection two nil and you would be forgiven for assuming this result slots neatly into the category above. However nothing could be further from the truth.
Cork City’s victory over Manchester United XI was not just a comprehensive display on the field at Turners Cross but more significantly it was the greatest display to date that the supporter owned and operated Club model may one day overtake what we know as ‘traditional’ football powerhouses. An embarrassing over reaction? Perhaps. But it wasn’t just the glorious smell of Clonakilty Blackpudding that wafted through the stands last night as Cork City and in particular Daryl Horgan put the young pretenders of Manchester United through their paces. No, there was something else in the air, something almost tangible. It was the sense of a Club, run the right way that had pulled itself up by the bootstraps and now feels confident enough to say, “This is who we are and this is what we are about.”
The Cork City players certainly transmitted that message as they produced an excellent first half display full of neat passing, creativity and just the right balance of aggression in the tackle. Such was the total dominance that United’s Tom Lawrence was reduced to a petulant kick at City’s Danny Murphy. With a nervous looking Jonny Sutherland in goal for the visitors, Cork worked at least five good chances before Kevin Murray put the home side deservedly ahead. The second half was a more even affair, as both sides introduced substitutions as Cork City Manager Tommy Dunne began to think about Shelbourne’s visit on Friday. Despite the disruption both sides fashioned chances with Agnaldo standing out for the visitors. However it was the City who always looked the most likely and following Keigan Parkers curling effort on 90 minutes the home side doubled their advantage with another headed goal.
Of course this victory is merely a friendly, you suspect instantly forgotten by the United players and City have the real work of securing a good finish in the Airtricity League to concentrate on. But on a balmy mid week evening the sizeable crowd of all ages reveled in the performance and atmosphere. Yes the challenge is to get this crowd out on a regular basis but the management and staff of Cork City can be very proud of their achievements. Last night was more than just a historic victory over a footballing institution; it was Cork City FC standing tall and for those of us lucky enough to be there it was about experiencing what the soul of a real football club should be.
John provides sponsorship support to Clonakilty Blackpudding – Premier Club Partner -Cork City FC
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