Cork City condemned Derry new boss Peter Hutton to defeat in his first match in charge with a comfortable 2-0 win at Turner’s Cross.
A penalty kick from Billy Dennehy and a well-struck effort from Gearoid Morrissey early in the first half were enough to settle a fixture in the Leesiders’ favour.
Billy Dennehy was flattened in the Derry box by Shane McEleney on 14 minutes and slotted the resulting spot kick beyond the reach of Gerard Doherty with little difficulty, before Morrissey fired home from the right-hand edge of the area three minutes later.
During a game which was quite flat at times, chances were few and far between. City rattled Doherty’s woodwork on three further occasions and had another goal from the head of Dan Murray disallowed. Derry, for their part, created only the odd opportunity and will be disappointed not to have test their opponents more.
John Caulfield made one change and three positional switches to the team that lost late on to St Patrick’s Athletic on their previous outing - Iarfhlaith Davoren starting at left back with captain John Dunleavy moving to right back.
Brian Lenihan, who has made the right-back position his own since the beginning of the season, pushed forward to the right-hand side of midfield with Liam Kearney playing a more advanced role in behind sole striker Mark O’Sullivan.
Hutton, meanwhile, made a number of changes from the side that drew with Bohemians last time out - introducing Shane McEleney, Ryan Curran, Danny Ventre, Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney to his starting line-up.
The home side got an early warning of the trouble Patrick McEleney can cause when the striker broke clear down the right with two minutes on the clock only to blast an effort well over Mark McNulty’s crossbar.
The Derry City number ten was again involved on 14 minutes when he combined well with Michael Duffy to carve through their opponents until an interception by Murray halted the attack.
The men in green broke straight out and raced down the other end of the pitch though, and when Shane McEleney leaned in on Billy Dennehy as the latter waited patiently by the penalty spot, referee Robert Rogers had no hesitation in awarding the set piece. Dennehy, having picked himself off the grass, made no mistake with his finish to score his fourth penalty at Turner’s Cross this season.
The crowd of 2,907 had endured a tame opening to the game but were on their feet once again three minutes later when Gearoid Morrissey pounced on Ryan McBride’s clearance to fire home a stunning effort in off the goalpost from 25 yards out.
The Candystripes worked hard to get themselves back into the contest with Patrick McEleney central to all their best attacking play. His free kicks created half chances for both Aaron Barry and McBride but the next real chance fell to Mark O’Sullivan.
City’s number 23 got his head to Darren Dennehy’s floated cross but Doherty tipped his effort on to his crossbar and while Murray directed the rebound to the back of the Derry net, it was ruled out for offside.
There was a notable increase in tempo at the beginning of the second half. O’Sullivan crashed another header against Doherty’s crossbar on 49 minutes following Lenihan’s cross inside from the right.
McNulty was then tested by Curran and Patrick McEleney in quick succession before the former clattered an effort off the woodwork with the City keeper stranded in no man’s land not long before the hour mark.
A late free kick from Colin Healy drew gasps from the home crowd as his pacy set piece missed everyone in the Derry box. Another goal was not to be, however, with the early goals enough to keep all three points in Cork.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy, Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Brian Lenihan, Gearoid Morrissey, Colin Healy, Liam Kearney (Garry Buckley ’79), Billy Dennehy; Mark O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: John Kavanagh, Ian Turner, Andy O’Connell, Dave O’Leary, Rob Lehane, Matt Gledhill.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Shane McEleney (Tony McNamee ’80), Cliff Byrne, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry; Ryan Curran (Nathan Boyle ’74), Danny Ventre, Barry Molloy, Barry McNamee, Michael Duffy; Patrick McEleney.
Subs not used: Roddy Collins Jr, Dean Jarvis, Ciaran Gallagher, Mark Stewart, Cormac Burke.
Referee: Robert Rogers
Cards: Yellow: Ventre ’56, Barry ’60, Buckley ’89