The summer break did nothing to break Cork City’s momentum as the Leesiders racked up a comprehensive 3-0 win over Limerick FC in the SSE Airtricity League at Turner’s Cross.
A brace of goals from Mark O’Sullivan, split by an excellent headed goal from Garry Buckley, captured three more league points for John Caulfield’s men and condemned Limerick to their first defeat since losing to CIty at Thomond Park in May.
Neither manager made any change to the teams that won their respective league fixtures last time out, and it was Rory Gaffney that looked dangerous early on when he evaded the attentions of Darren Dennehy to fire an effort straight into the clutches of Mark McNulty in the 4th minute.
Liam Kearney should have at least tested Barry Ryan when he found himself unmarked and bearing in on goal with 11 minutes on the clock. A lovely touch from Buckley set the winger free but he skewed his final shot horribly with Ryan trapped in no man’s land.
In-form O’Sullivan was the man to break the deadlock in the 20th minute in front of a crowd of 2,726. Fouled by Samuel Oji, the striker ran into the Limerick box and planted his header - from Colin Healy’s superb set piece - firmly beyond the reach of Ryan in the Limerick goal.
Billy Dennehy tried his luck from distance on a couple of occasions but while City were well on top in terms of possession and creativity, they were guilt of over elaborating their play at times and went in just one goal ahead at half time.
Midfielder Dennehy continued to cause problems for the men in green once the action resumed. He first tried his hand from distance, only to see his effort curl over Ryan’s crossbar, before sending a fine cross inside to O’Sullivan, who was just inches away from making contact while lurking near the goal line.
Buckley prevented the visitors from equalising when he cleared Ross Mann’s shot off the line with McNulty beaten two minutes before the hour mark, and it was the 20-year-old who then popped up at the back post during the hosts’ next attack to head John Dunleavy’s cross home and make it 2-0.
O’Sullivan put victory beyond any remaining doubt with 20 minutes left when he caught Brian Lenihan’s cross inside from the right ever so sweetly and fired up and beyond Ryan for his second of the match.
Limerick substitute Robbie Williams almost pulled one back when his set piece drew a top class save from McNulty shortly afterwards but aside from a raft of late substitutes, there was little else to note before referee Graham Kelly, in for the injured Dave McKeon, blew the full time whistle.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Brian Lenihan, Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy (Iarfhlaith Daveron ’72), John Dunleavy; Billy Dennehy, Gearoid Morrissey, Colin Healy (Dave O’Leary ’79), Garry Buckley, Liam Kearney (Josh O’Shea ’55); Mark O’Sullivan.
Substitutes: Ian Turner, Danny Morrissey, Rob Lehane, Kevin O’Brien.
Limerick: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Patrick Nzuzi; Prince Agyemang (Robbie Williams ’65), Shane Duggan, Jason Hughes, Danny Galbraith; Tam McManus (Ross Mann ’46), Rory Gaffney.
Substitues: Shane Cusack, Michael Leahy, Darragh Rainsford, Tony Whitehead, Shane Costelloe.
Referee: Graham Kelly.