Cork City 2-1 Derry City
An injury-time goal from Kenny Browne saw Cork City steal a late, late 2-1 win over Derry City in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
The centre-half headed home in stoppage time to add to Danny Morrissey’s equaliser just five minutes earlier.
Derry had taken a fully-deserved lead on 55 minutes through a Niclas Vemmelund header, kicking the game into life after a cagey and tense first half on Leeside.
Cork City were unchanged from the team that beat Bohemians three nights previously, Gavan Holohan retaining his place in midfield in the continued absence of the injured Gearóid Morrissey.
Derry City boss Kenny Shiels must have been pleased with the showing of Dean Jarvis against Finn Harps, with the defender starting the game in Cork after coming on as a second-half substitute earlier in the week.
With Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane watching from the stands, the Leesiders made a bright start to the contest with Sean Maguire and Karl Sheppard chasing balls down the flank and putting Ryan McBride and Gerard Doherty under pressure in separate occasions in the opening minutes.
The first real chance of the game fell to Holohan in the 14th minute. The midfielder found himself with space in the box but could not direct his awkwardly-struck shot on target after being supplied with a fine pass from Maguire out on the right wing.
Sheppard then had a shot punted clear by the excellent McBride before the former Rovers man - on a hot streak of form for the hosts in recent weeks - guided a lovely ball into the box on 22 minutes only for the Derry man to clear his lines once again with Maguire paying close attention.
Caulfield’s men were playing their ninth game in all competitions in 29 days, and the initial sparks of life that had the 2,856-strong crowd in good form were gradually tamed, marshalled and contained by a well-organised Derry side.
Indeed, the game’s first save wasn’t made until the 35th minute as Mark McNulty tipped Barry McNamee’s rasping shot around his own left-hand post following the visitors’ first corner of the game. Vemmelund headed wide from the follow-up set-piece.
Playing into the Shed End of the ground for the second half, Cork had a superb chance to break the deadlock on 46 minutes. The initial run from midfield was made by Buckley, who found Sheppard out to his left. The forward raced into the Derry box but fired his right-footed shot to the left and wide, with Doherty taking a knock in the process.
The Candystripes keeper was able to continue after some brief treatment and was delighted to see his outfit move ahead nine minutes later.
A rare foray in their opponents’ half resulted in a Derry corner. McNamee’s set-piece found Vemmelund unmarked in the centre of the box and the full-back poked the ball home beyond McNulty.
Another excellent interception from McBride prevented the home team from getting back on level terms just past the hour mark.
Buckley and Steven Beattie combined to set Maguire free one-on-one with Doherty. However, just as the striker was set to fire home, Derry’s centre-half nipped the ball away from danger.
Bolger was next to try his luck. Good build-up play from substitute Mark O’Sullivan allowed Kevin O’Connor plant a ball on the midfielder’s head at the edge of the six-yard box, but he was well off target with his final effort from close range.
The equaliser came with four minutes of normal time remaining.
Buckley won a free-kick that Bolger floated into the box from the left wing and it was Morrissey that dipped low to head the ball into the bottom left-hand corner beyond Doherty’s reach.
The winner arrived shortly after the fourth official indicated five minutes of added time on his board.
From Bolger’s corner, Browne rose the highest and powered a header beyond Doherty, heralding massive celebrations around the ground in the process.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy, Alan Bennett, Kenny Browne, Kevin O’Connor; Greg Bolger; Steven Beattie (Danny Morrissey ’64), Gavan Holohan (Mark O’Sullivan ’72), Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard (Stephen Dooley ’55); Sean Maguire
Substitutes: Colin Healy, Michael McSweeney, Alan Smith, Ian Turner
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Keith Ward (Conor McDermott ’80), Conor McCormack, Aaron McEneff, Barry McNamee (Nathan Boyle ’90), Ronan Curtis (Josh Daniels ’80); Rory Patterson
Subtitutes: Shaun Patton, Jordan Allan, Patrick McClean, Ryan Doherty
Referee: David McKeon