11 April 2022
By Roger Kennedy
Although they currently play only in the First Division (which despite its impressive-sounding name is beneath the Premier Division) in League of Ireland soccer, Cork City FC are one of the biggest teams in the country. They have earned huge recognition by being voted the team with the greatest fan base in the Republic of Ireland in 2020. The fans have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in the last decade, watching the outfit go back and forth between the top two tiers of Irish football along the way.
Unfortunately, the team are currently playing their second straight season in the First Division, the second class of Irish football. Nevertheless, the good news for the fans is that they look to be on the best way to return to Premier Division following a great start to the 2022 campaign.
Remembering the historic domestic double in 2017
‘It was not long ago when Cork City dominated Irish football’ remember John Pentin, football editor at NewJerseysafebetting. They earned their maiden domestic double just five years ago, winning both Premier Division and FAI Cup. Cork City have done so in style, ending Dundalk’s dominance in the domestic competitions. The Rebel Army lifted the league trophy with a seven-point advantage on runners-up Dundalk despite winning only one of the last five games of the campaign. Overall, they finished the season with the league-best defensive record (23 goals conceded in 33 outings) and with the competition’s top scorer in their ranks. Striker Sean Maguire has topped the division’s goal-scoring charts with 20 goals in the 2017 campaign. Moreover, Cork City went on to beat Dundalk on penalties in the FAI Cup final that same year after a 1-1 draw in the regular time.
Relegation to second class in 2020
Only three years after earning the domestic double, Cork City FC were relegated to the second tier after a horrendous campaign. They won only 2 of 18 league matches to finish at the very foot of the standings with as many as nine points between them and Finn Harps in the safe zone. Rebel Army have scored only 10 goals in these 18 outings as they owned by far the worst attacking and defensive records in the division. The team then struggled a lot in the 2021 First Division campaign, finishing it at the sixth position, miles away from the promotional battle.
Cork City FC are popular again
Nonetheless, Cork City seem to have shifted their fortunes around and forgotten about back-to-back painful campaigns. They got off to a great start to the 2022 season, winning six of the inaugural eight matches for the top spot in the table after one-third of the campaign. Cork City decided to keep faith in Colin Healy who led them throughout the entire unsuccessful campaign in 2021. This decision seems to be paying off as they look fantastic under Healy in 2022.
Cork City boast the best attacking and defensive records after eight rounds of the new season. They have a fabulous goal difference of 19-2 so far and are on the best route to return to the elite tier of Irish football after a two-year absence. Barry Coffey and Ruairi Keating have been the standout performers for Healy’s squad so far in the season. They have scored four goals apiece in the opening eight appearances. Two Cians, Murphy and Bargary, have also been great with three and two goals apiece in eight matches. This Cork City FC squad certainly has the quality and the potential required for the top flight and we can’t wait to see them challenging the likes of Derry City, Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk, and the rest this time next year.