By Niamh O'Mahony at Turners' Cross
Cork City 5-0 Limerick
A brace of goals each from brothers Darren and Billy Dennehy helped Cork City FC notch up their first Airtricity League victory of the season in style as they thumped Limerick 5-0.
Darren Dennehy opened the scoring when he poked the ball home in the fourth minute. Brother Billy added a second for the hosts on 17 minutes before Gavan Holohan made it three just before the break with a lovely finish.
Billy Dennehy claimed his second of the game with a well-placed finish early in the second half and, not to be outdone by his sibling, Darren claimed his brace with a fine header as the game headed towards a full-time whistle.
Cork started strongly and the visitors found themselves under pressure immediately as Karl Sheppard raced clear down the left to claim City’s first corner with less than a minute gone.
Former City midfielder Shane Duggan brought Mark McNulty into the action at the other end just as quickly a minute later but his shot was parried before being eventually cleared away for a corner by Darren Dennehy.
The Leeside crowd of 4,817 was still pouring into the ground when the breakthrough came. Danny Morrissey headed on target from Colin Healy’s corner, and when Limerick keeper Conor O’Donnell failed to collect the ball, Darren Dennehy was on hand to lash home from close range.
Liam Miller, making his home debut on Leeside, blazed over from a good position on 10 minutes, and the game’s second arrived seven minutes later when Sheppard - a bright spark for the hosts all night - was brought down in the box by keeper O’Donnell.
Billy Dennehy stepped up to take the spot kick and duly joined his brother on the scoresheet by slotting his penalty kick straight down the middle of the Limerick goal as O’Donnell dived to his right.
Garry Buckley might have made it three two minutes when he fired an effort just wide from the left-hand edge of the area, and it was Miller that lined up next for a shot - blasting Sheppard’s pass into the St. Anne’s stand with 24 minutes gone.
Buckley had to be replaced, after seemingly taking a knock to head, on the half hour by Holohan. However, any hope Limerick had of taking advantage of the change to get back into the encounter were quickly erased as their captain Shane Duggan was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Morrissey in the centre circle.
Morrissey, starting his first game for City since the end of the 2013 season, was able to continue after treatment and even thought he had opened his goal tally for the season with a neat finish past O’Donnell, his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
Caulfield’s men would have a third before half time though - Holohan getting on to a superb ball from Miller to curl an effort beyond O’Donnell to the back of the Limerick net.
There was no let up for the visitors once play resumed. City pushed on relentlessly towards their favoured Shed End, and the game’s fourth wasn’t long arriving. Billy Dennehy robbed possession off Val Feeney following a Limerick throw in, and charged towards goal before firing beneath O’Donnell.
McNulty found himself the sole footballer in his own half for protracted spells of the second half, such was his side’s dominance, and Sheppard could have made it five on 64 minutes when he directed a ball just wide having picked up a skewed clearance by Robbie Williams.
The former Rovers man had another bite of the cherry eight minutes later when his superb shot was first half blocked by O’Donnell before being knocked off its goal-bound track by Aidan Price.
There was still time, however, for Darren Dennehy to claim his second of the encounter. The Kerryman directed a fine header past the Limerick keeper - the ball supplied by none other than his brother Billy - to seal all three points for the Leesiders.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Ross Gaynor, Darren Dennehy, Alan Bennett, John Dunleavy; Billy Dennehy, Liam Miller, Colin Healy (John Kavanagh ’76), Gary Buckley (Gavan Holohan ’30); Karl Sheppard, Danny Morrissey (Liam Kearney ’64).
Substitutes: Kevin O’Brien, Dan Murray, Kieran Djilali, Mark O’Sullivan.
Limerick FC: Conor O’Donnell; Sean Harding, Paudie O’Connor, Aidan Price, Robbie Williams; Paul O’Connor, Shane Duggan, Darragh Rainsford, Ian Turner; Vinnie Faherty (Val Feeney ’34), Dean Clarke (Kieran Hanlon ’57).
Substitutes: Tommy Holland, Sean Russell, Tony Whitehead, Shane Costelloe, Ross Mann.
Photographs courtesy of Kevin Mulcahy