Galway 0-5 Cork City
On a dramatic evening in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Cork City were cool and classy enough to register a convincing win at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Cork annihilated a disappointing Galway United side in the west with Karl Sheppard creating three goals in the opening 18 minutes.
Sean Maguire, Stephen Dooley, and Gary Buckley netted for Cork as Galway were demolished by the title chasers.
In the second half Maguire and substitute Chiedozie Ogbene extended Cork’s advantage and the Rebel Army will relish Tuesday’s trip to Oriel Park for a clash with Dundalk.
With Dundalk losing 3-0 to Sligo Rovers, the gap at the top is now just down to one point while Cork have a better goal difference.
Eager to make an early impact Cork thundered into the contest putting Galway under serious duress from the first whistle.
Only 75 seconds had elapsed when City hit the front courtesy of a headed goal from excellent attacker Sean Maguire.
Karl Sheppard, once a Galway United favourite, dashed clear on the right to deliver an inviting cross with Maguire guiding the visitors ahead.
Galway were encountering significant bother with Sheppard coming close to adding a second in the 12th minute as the Leesiders dominated.
A second goal was bagged in the 15th minute when Sheppard’s assist was expertly thumped home by Stephen Dooley.
Cork were rampant with Sheppard creating another opening with Gary Buckley supplying the close range header that steered John Caulfield’s team into a three goal lead.
From then until the interval it was a grim struggle for Galway, who were completely outfoxed by a vibrant Cork side.
Greg Bolger and Gary Buckley dictated the pattern of the game with Sheppard, who crafted the three opening period goals, excellent on the right.
Three minutes after the restart Maguire notched his second of the match when gathering Gavan Holohan’s through ball and Ogbene sealed the deal in stoppage time converting a fourth Sheppard assist.
Galway United: Sam Ramsbottom; Colm Horgan, Armin Aganovic, Stephen Folan (Kilian Cantwell, 58), Stephen Walsh; Gary Shanahan, Paul Sinnott (Alex Byrne, 58), Ryan Connolly, Kevin Devaney; Vinny Faherty, Enda Curran (Conor Melody, 72).
Subs not used: Conor Winn, Padraic Cunningham.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Alan Bennett, Kenny Browne (Michael McSweeney, 61), Kevin O'Connor; Garry Buckley, Greg Bolger (Colin Healy, 61); Karl Sheppard, Gavan Holohan, Stephen Dooley (Chiedozie Ogbene, 75); Sean Maguire.
Subs not used: Matthew Connor, Danny Morrissey, Mark O'Sullivan, Ian Turner.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Westmeath).