Post-Match Reaction: SSE Airtricity League U17 Southern Elite Division – Cork City Manager Brendan O’Sullivan – The Evening Echo – March 27 2018

O’Sullivan: We were beaten by a better side


Daire Walsh

CORK CITY U17 manager Brendan O’Sullivan acknowledged that his side were second-best to Shamrock Rovers in their SSE Airtricity League Southern Elite Division meeting at Roadstone last Saturday.

The concession of two goals in the space of 60 seconds during the opening half left the Leesiders with too much ground to make up and they eventually fell to a 5-1 reversal. “They were better than us all over the park.

“They were better than us, they were hungrier than us.

“They had a lot more commitment in everything they did,” O’Sullivan remarked after the game.

“It was a killer [to concede two goals in a minute] and we lost a big player in the same movement as well.

“Our centre-half, Colin Hanifin, came off with an injury. We were already missing our first-choice centre-half, Josh Honohan, and our other keeper Adam Cantwell.

“They’re away on a school trip, but we don’t want to make any excuses really.”

Facing into a 3-0 deficit at the start of the second half, Josh Lombardi’s 49-minute goal offered City some degree of solace.

Although he accepted the game was already beyond them, O’Sullivan was disappointed to concede a fourth goal to Rovers striker Jack Kelly within minutes of opening their account.

“That was the disappointing thing. We said at half-time we’d try and win the second half. We weren’t going to get back into the game at that stage, but we wanted to win the second half. We started very brightly and scored a good goal to get back into it at 3-1.

“Unfortunately, we conceded again. Long ball over the top where we were caught out. That sets you back again and you’re on the back-foot again.”

As reigning league champions at the U17 grade, City will be concerned that their opening two games of the campaign have ended in defeat.

O’Sullivan is not prepared to push the panic button just yet, though, and believes the squad can push forward in the coming weeks.

“Experience tells me that we can get there. Last year we were not so good at the start.

“We got a little bit better towards the middle of the season. We hit our momentum towards the end of the season, and we went on and won the League of Ireland. I’m by no means writing these boys off.

“There’s a lot of good players there. This is our first trip away ever. The first time the boys are on a bus together.

“First time they’ve experienced this level of football. It’s a real eye-opener for them,” O’Sullivan added.

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