Freyne receives player of the month award


THE tremendous impact made by Patsy Freyne since his return to Cork City at the start of the season was acknowledged in Dublin last night when he was presented with the Opel sponsored Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland Player of the Month award for November.

The player, who retired from National League football two years ago and played instead with Everton in the Munster Senior league, was persuaded to return to his former club over the summer by new manager Dave Barry and has been central to City's strong showing over the last couple of months.

"As soon as I took over last season I wanted to get him back involved with us but by that stage the transfer deadline had passed so it was the summer before I could sign him. Since then, though, he has great for us, he works as hard as anyone in the side and, in the central midfield role where I play him, it's great to have somebody with his experience who I know is on the same wavelength."

Freyne's experience will be particularly valuable over the next week with trips to Finn Harps (league) and Galway (League Cup) coming up and several key players out of action.

Colin O'Brien is the latest player to be ruled out of Barry's immediate plans after it was confirmed yesterday that the injury that forced him out of Sunday's win over UCD after half an hour did involve a broken bone in his foot.

O'Brien is now expected to be out for a month while City are also without Kelvin Flanagan who has two matches of a three-match suspension still outstanding. Goalkeeper Phil Harrington, who pulled a hamstring on Sunday is also doubtful although there is some good news for the southerners with central defender, Derek Coughlin, recovering well from a bout of glandular fever.

"He's back in training now and should be available soon which will be a boost for us. We're going to struggle in midfield for the next few matches, though, until we get a few more back in but hopefully we'll get by," said Barry.

Cork's opponents in the League Cup, meanwhile, have difficulties of their own at the moment with Eddie Van Boxtel having aggravated a groin strain in Galway's 4-2 defeat by Drogheda United last Friday night.

His absence for Saturday's return match with Drogheda at Terryland Park means that Gabby Higgins is in lined for a call up after a lengthy absence from United's first team.

The club, which has made an appeal to supporters in the city to come out and support the side in the two matches over the coming week in order to help ease the well publicised financial troubles at Terryland, would normally expect to have reserve goalkeeper Robert Forde to call on but he is currently involved in a dispute over pay.

Dundalk have confirmed the signing of 20-year-old Celtic defender Graham Morrison on loan from the Glasgow club.

With Mick Doohan out until Christmas and John Hewitt's defence struggling over the past two months, Morrison is likely to be thrown straight into the thick of things on Friday night when Home Farm visit Oriel Park.

Stephen McGuinness tops the list of National League suspensions this week with the Home Farm player receiving a three-match ban as a result of reaching 20 penalty points. Other players affected are Stephen Raynes (Dundalk), Paul Sully (Waterford) and James Smith (St Francis) who have all been suspended for two matches while Peter Carpenter of Galway will be out for one as a result of his sending off in the recent match against Athlone. The suspensions take effect from Monday week.