Cork City boss Colin Healy has vented his frustration at players being “cute” to earn decisions in the League of Ireland this season.
Healy was speaking ahead of Cork City’s trip to face Treaty United in a Munster derby at the Markets Field in Limerick this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
City come into the game on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Shelbourne last weekend, where striker Jack Walsh was given a straight red card after tangling with Shane Farrell.
Healy wasn’t referring directly to the Walsh dismissal but believes teams are unnecessarily influencing referees.
“Sometimes teams can be cute, they can be clever, and if they feel anything, they go down. You get it on the touchline too, every tackle, every decision, everybody’s jumping up and down,” said Healy.
“Over the last few weeks, there’s a lot of fellas going down very easily. The refs have a hard enough job as it is.”
Asked if he would encourage his own side to exaggerate to earn decisions, Healy said: “You either have that or you don’t.”
The early season optimism surrounding City has taken some serious knocks in recent weeks, with a run of three defeats to Cabinteely, Athlone Town, and Shels leaving the club second from bottom going into tonight’s round of games.
It won’t get any easier in this evening’s Munster derby against a Treaty United side who — despite having their own bad fortune with three red cards already — have made an impressive start to their inaugural season in League of Ireland football.
Tommy Barrett’s men are unbeaten with three draws and one victory already secured. “They’ve a good manager and a good squad,” said Healy. “It’s going to be a tough game. “
Healy is on the lookout for a new assistant manager, with his No 2 John Cotter soon to depart for a role with the FAI. “As a coach and as a friend, he’s been brilliant,” said Healy. “We wish him the best.”
City will be without the suspended Walsh while Dylan McGlade and Steven Beattie picked up injuries last Friday (Beattie during the warm-up) and are doubts. Gearoid Morrissey and Cian Bargary are hoping to be fit after picking up knocks against Shels.
Elsewhere early leaders Athlone Town will host bottom side Wexford at Lissywollen.
Three years ago Wexford chalked up a club-record win against Athlone, putting seven goals past the Midlanders. Fast forward to now, and Athlone lead the way in the First Division, while Wexford are yet to pick up a point.
Town defender Aidan Friel, who previously played for Wexford, is a doubt for Athlone. Cameron Power remains out long-term for Wexford but Jack Connolly and Ayman Yousif are nearing a return.
John Caulfield’s Galway United side host UCD at Eamonn Deacy Park this evening. The fancied Westerners have had a mixed start to the season, though Wilson Waweru’s 93rd-minute equaliser against Treaty last weekend will doubtless lift spirits.
UCD are the division’s top scorers and go into the game on the back of a thumping 4-1 win over Cabinteely, where Colm Whelan grabbed a hat-trick.
Cabinteely will be without defender Andy O’Brien due to a knee injury when they face Shelbourne in a Dublin derby at Stradbrook tonight.
Cobh Ramblers secured their first victory of the season last weekend and tomorrow evening (7pm) they host Bray Wanderers at St Colman’s Park.
All tonight’s fixtures kick off at 7.45pm.
First Division (all 7.45pm): Treaty Utd v Cork City FC, Galway Utd v UCD, Cabinteely v Shelbourne, Athlone Town v Wexford.
Tomorrow: Cobh Ramblers v Bray Wanderers 7pm.