There was a dramatic finish to Stuart Ashton’s first league outing in charge of Cork City, as Danny Morrissey finally broke Bohemians’ resistance with a last-ditch header for a 1-0 win in Friday's Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Turner’s Cross.
Bohs looked set to earn a valuable point in their struggle against relegation before Morrissey stooped to nod in Danny Murphy’s left-wing cross in the 95th minute.
It was just reward for the dynamic Morrissey who had troubled the away defence all night and had just seen an acrobatic volley come back off a post.
Resolute Bohs defending and a couple of dramatic stops from keeper Dean Delany eventually counted for nothing. And the visitors will regret first-half misses from Ryan McEvoy and Dinny Corcoran
Owen Heary had bemoaned Bohs’ set-piece defending in the home defeat by UCD. But his promise to polish that aspect of his side’s play failed an early test when John Dunleavy easily escaped attention at a fifth-minute corner. After his header was partially cleared, Delany did well to hold Dan Murray’s drilled follow-up from the edge of the area.
Cork had started purposefully, with Dunleavy and Gearóid Morrissey imposing themselves on the midfield skirmishes and Shane Duggan drifting inside dangerously from a berth on the left.
Gradually Bohs gained a foothold and after a Shane Murray long-ranger failed to really trouble Mark McNulty, the first clear opening came for the away side on 13 minutes when Conor Murphy drove beyond the Cork midfield before slipping a perfect pass into the path of Karl Moore.
With Murray beaten for pace, McNulty did well to repel Moore’s drilled effort.
Cork began to hit a string of long balls to little effect, although one delightful angled pass from Duggan found Ciarán Kilduff on the right side of the Bohs area. His chipped cross just eluded his strike partner Danny Morrissey.
A looping Kilduff header was well held by Delany but it was Bohs who were beginning to look the more dangerous. Murray did well to work an opening before shooting weakly from distance before Conor Murphy dragged another hopeful effort well wide.
Then after a string of corners late in the first half, Corcoran was presented with a glaring opportunity from Murray’s left-wing delivery. But his free header flew over when it looked easier to score.
The home side produced a much brisker tempo at the beginning of the second half. Delany just managed to hang onto a testing cross from Gearóid Morrissey before pulling off the save of the match just before the hour, when he plunged low to get his fingertips onto a point-blank Danny Morrissey header.
A much neater approach through midfield ensured City continued to reduce Bohs to sporadic counters on the break. From one such sortie, Derek Pender tested McNulty with a low shot from wide on the right.
Colin Healy arrived to make his competitive return on 67 minutes, in place of Dunleavy, as Cork looked to make dominance count.
With Bohs defending becoming increasingly desperate, Moore joined Anto Murphy in the book, before Delany saved again from Danny Morrissey at close range.
Ian Turner cut inside on 78 minutes, before unleashing a speculative drive that whistled just over Delany’s crossbar, before play was held up for a nasty-looking injury to Kilduff, who was unable to continue.
More pinball in the Bohs area had the home fans in the 2145-strong attendance optimistically demanding a penalty, before the imposing Gearoid Morrissey drilled another shot wide.
Bohs skipper Dave Mulcahy was booked for an elbow that infuriated Healy and Cork’s last chance looked to be gone when Danny Morrissey headed over from Stephen Kenny’s right-wing cross.
Morrissey then volleyed off a post as the fourth official signalled five minutes, before stooping to conquer at the death to give City the win their second-half display deserved.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Ian Turner, Danny Murphy, Gearóid Morrissey, Shane Duggan, Daniel Morrissey, John Dunleavy (Colin Healy 67), Dan Murray, Neal Horgan, Garry Buckley, Ciaran Kilduff (Stephen Kenny 80).
Subs not used: Rob Lehane, Brian Lenihan, Eoghan Murphy, Dave Ryan, John Kavanagh.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender (Daniel Byrne 80), Roberto Lopes, Anto Murphy, Luke Byrne, Karl Moore, Ryan McEvoy, Dave Mulcahy, Shane Murray (Kevin Devaney 50), Conor Murphy, Dinny Corcoran (Michael Barker 83).
Subs not used: Greg Murray, Stephen Traynor, Lorcan Shannon, Michael Barker, Darragh Reynor.
Referee: Sean Grant