By Henry O’Donovan
Cork City were well deserved 3-0 winners against Derry City at Turners Cross on Friday night, maintaining their perfect league record for the 2017 season.
Sean Maguire looked to continue his scoring streak in the tenth minute. He picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area, skipped past his man and bared down on goal, but Gerard Doherty was off his line quickly to smother the shot.
Cork continued to have the majority of possession but Derry got their opening on 20 minutes. Nathan Boyle received the ball on the right side of the box before striking a low shot towards the near post, but Mark McNulty was equal to it.
The Leesiders continued to press hard for the opening goal and they came within inches of it on the half hour mark. City won a free kick 20 yards out slightly to the right of the goal. Kevin O’Connor stepped up and curled the ball over the wall and Doherty was called on to make a fingertip save to keep the game level.
The opening goal came four minutes later. A great run down the left from Dooley saw him glide past his man and get to the byline before putting in a low cross which Garry Buckley was on hand to finish tidily.
The home side pushed for a second immediately but failed to fashion another clear cut opportunity before the interval.
Five minutes after the break Cork were on the attack again, with Sheppard having a shot blocked from 12 yards.
It was Sheppard who would provide the second goal on 54 minutes. Gearoid Morrissey pounced on a loose ball in the centre of the park before playing a defence splitting pass to Sheppard. Through one-on-one, the winner calmly put the ball through the keepers legs and into the net.
The third goal came in the 65th minute, and it was Maguire yet again who provided the finish. Derry couldn’t get the ball clear and it ping ponged around the box before falling at the feet of Maguire, who turned and finished clinically.
The Leesiders were in the ascendancy from the point the third goal went in. The story of the last ten minutes was the duel that developed between Mark McNulty and Aaron McEneff. Derry were being limited to shots from distance and McEneff was happy to oblige. In the 87th minute he smashed a shot from 35 yards out that cannoned off the crossbar, directed there by the fingertips of McNulty.
McEneff had another go in the final minute of additional time, this time from 25 yards. His rasping shot was too strong for McNulty to hold first time and it looked like it would spin into the net, before the City goalkeeper fell on it to collect.
Referee: Robert Harvey.