Airtricity League First Division

November 7, 2018

Cork City moved to the top of the Airtricity League First Division just three games into the season thanks to a confidence boosting win at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Limerick at Turner’s Cross on Friday night.

The only real negative is that they failed to kill the game off despite dominating for long spells. Limerick, of course, were missing half a dozen players, and you’d wonder if the result would have been the same if Pat Scully had a full panel of players to choose from.Derek O’Brien grabbed the vital goal midway through the opening period and that was essentially the difference in an entertaining game which swung from end-to-end.

Limerick started in promising fashion, with Peter Hynes leading the line, and the former Sporting Fingal striker hooked an inviting cross wide in the first minute, before curling a tame effort straight into the grasp of Mark McNulty soon after.It took Cork, on the other hand, more time to settle down. Despite some neat passages of play in the middle, Shane Duggan and Greg O’Halloran with some nice link-up play at times, they didn’t threaten Barry Ryan, a man who has had a long history at this ground, until they broke the deadlock on 18 minutes.

O’Brien, making his first start for the Leeside club, raced down the left wing, before easing his way past the lazy challenge of Garvan Broughall, firing a low effort towards the near post. Barry Ryan did his utmost to stop the strike with his foot, but his deflection saw the ball screw into the air and into the net. The away side appeared to be lacking a bit of pace at the back, and up against the speedy Davin O’Neill and Graham Cummins, Cork knew their best chance of carving out chances was by attempting to play balls over the top for the front two to run onto. They could have easily doubled the lead when O’Neill picked out Morrissey inside the area on 34 minutes. The midfielder remained composed, taking the ball down, before shooting three or four inches wide, leaving the crowd of 2165 with their heads in their hands.

Padraig Quinn ballooned an effort miles over the bar early in the second period after a scrappy few minutes after the interval, while Davin O’Neill headed over from a Vinny Sullivan cross at the other end. The game resembled something of a tentative affair at that point. It was clear that Cork needed the safety net of the second goal, and while they never sat back, Limerick were also searching for an equalising goal.

Seán O’Connor, signed earlier this week by Pat Scully, was introduced by the away team with twenty minutes to go, though his influence was restricted with Danny Murphy and Gavin Kavanagh on top form at the back for City.Duggan almost wrapped up the points on 73, as Vinny Sullivan’s cute little through ball cut the Lims’ defence open, allowing Duggan to waltz into the box. His shot looked to be heading for the far corner of the goal, though Brian McCarthy was on hand to block the attempt.

In a strange turn of affairs, Scully put centre-back O’Callaghan up front for the last ten minutes – showing up the lack of options at his disposal due to a mini-injury crisis – but that move came to little fruition, as their best attempt came from a Judge header which flew wide of the post. It was the closest they came to beating McNulty, as Cork closed out the game in a moderately convincing fashion.

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Gavin Kavnagh, Kalen Spillane, Danny Murphy; Gearóid Morrissey, Shane Duggan, Greg O’Halloran, Derek O’Brien (Vinny Sullivan 58); Davin O’Neill, Graham Cummins.
Subs not used: Alan Carey, Timmy Kiely, James McCarthy, Jamie Murphy, Simon Holland, Vincent Escudé-Candau.

Limerick: Barry Ryan; Garvan Broughall, Brian O’Callaghan, Brian McCarthy, John Frost; Garbhan Coughlan (Chris Breen 58), David O’Leary (Darren Coleman 64), Padraig Quinn, Jeffrey Judge, Shane Tracy (Sean O’Connor 71); Peter Hynes.
Subs not used: James O’Brien, Peter White, Steven McGann, Shane Cusack.

Referee: Sean Grant

Attendance: 2165


Match Report: Alan Smith