Cork CIty 2-0 Dundalk
Cork City have drawn first blood against rivals Dundalk by claiming the President’s Cup courtesy of a 2-0 win over the Premier Division champions at Turner’s Cross.
Goals in either half from Gavan Holohan and former Dundalk man Sean Maguire saw the Leesiders beat their rivals for the first time in 11 attempts in front of a crowd of 1,850 in the curtain-raiser ahead of the start of the SSE Airtricity League season next weekend.
Holohan’s goal was a neat finish after lovely play from Maguire in particular and while Dundalk had some half-chances, they failed to trouble their rivals and it was their former front man that sealed the win with a top-class header on the hour mark.
The home side made an impressive start with new signings Stephen Dooley, ex-Lilywhite Maguire, Greg Bolger and Kenny Browne all involved early on. Returning midfielder Gearóid Morrissey also made his mark from the centre of the park.
Bolger was fouled by Stephen O’Donnell at the edge of the Dundalk box with two minutes gone but Ian Turner – another former City boy back at the Cross this season – planted the set piece into a black and white wall.
Eoghan O’Connell headed over from Dooley’s cross moments later before a Maguire flick sent Turner clear only for the ex-Limerick man to see his effort knocked away for a corner.
Daryl Horgan had his first opportunity to stretch the hosts on seven minutes, the winger racing clear down the left only to be tackled at the last moment by O’Connell.
The subsequent corner saw Dane Massey flick a header to Brian Gartland; however, the defender’s shot at the far post was well to the left of Mark McNulty’s goal.
Despite the men in green pushing forward in numbers, the next decent chance went the way of the visitors on 16 minutes with only a finger-tip block from McNulty and clearance from O’Connell preventing Kilduff from breaking the deadlock.
Celtic man O’Connell – on loan with John Caulfield’s outfit until the summer – fired an effort straight at Gary Rogers at the other end three minutes later, and the opening goal finally arrived with 20 minutes on the clock.
Dooley’s initial shot was saved by Rogers but a ball back inside from Maguire found Holohan unmarked at the far post and the Kilkenny man had the easiest of finishes from close range to put the FAI Cup runners-up ahead.
Dooley and Maguire combined again to great effect shortly afterwards to feed Turner, who closed in on an open goal but failed to get the vital touch.
The first half ended with a booking apiece for either side.
Massey tackled Bennett rather heavily as the defender went to clear danger from the City box, and it was Andy Boyle and McNulty that were spoken to and shown yellow by referee Graham Kelly once the pushing and shoving subsided.
The second half took a little while to catch fire with bookings for Morrissey, O’Donnell and Gartland before the first shot in anger was notched up.
Morrissey’s effort from 30 yards was spilled by Rogers after 57 minutes but he gathered the rebound before Maguire could get involved, while a bullet header from Browne – directly from a Turner corner - saw Finn make a superb clearance off the goal line two minutes later.
The game’s second goal arrived in the 61st minute.
The move started with Morrissey, who broke down the right before passing inside to O’Connell. The full-back’s cross to Maguire had pin-point accuracy and the striker guided an excellent diving header beyond Rogers’ reach to the back of the Dundalk net.
Stephen Kenny immediately introduced John Mountney for Sean Gannon, with Chris Shields moving to full back. Ciarán Kilduff registered a shot a minute later in response, but it was O’Connell that cleared his line.
Steven Beattie replaced Dooley on 71 minutes and made a telling impact when he was tackled by Gartland nine minutes later, after sprinting through from midfield.
The Dundalk man was shown yellow for a second time and then red for the challenge and only a double save by Rogers – from Turner’s free kick initially and then Sheppard’s follow-up effort – prevented a third for Caulfield’s team.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Eoghan O’Connell, Alan Bennett, Kenny Browne, John Dunleavy; Ian Turner, Greg Bolger, Gavan Holohan (Steven Beattie ’71), Gearóid Morrissey, Stephen Dooley (Karl Sheppard ’76); Sean Maguire (Mark O’Sullivan ’86).
Substitutes: Colin Healy, Danny Morrissey, Michael McSweeney, Alan Smith.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon (John Mountney ’62), Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields; Patrick McEleney (Paddy Barrett ’81); Stephen O’Donnell, Ronan Finn, Daryl Horgan; Ciarán Kilduff (David McMillan ’84).
Substitutes: Gabriel Sava, Shane Grimes, Robbie Benson, Darren Meenan.
Referee: Graham Kelly.