By Graham Cummins for EchoLive.ie
Cork City climbed above Waterford United to the summit of the First Division table after victory over their Munster rivals at Turners Cross on Monday night.
A second goal of the season for Ruairi Keating followed by an own goal from Darragh Power gave City a deserved three points in front of 3,012 spectators.
City’s youthful side overran Waterford in a game that the Rebel Army dominated from the beginning and looked comfortable throughout.
City made one change from the side that defeated Cobh Ramblers, with Darragh Crowley coming into the side in place of Cian Coleman, who missed the game through injury.
It was an encouraging beginning to the game from City with Keating and Cian Murphy looking threatening. The latter was causing Waterford all sorts of problems by exploiting the lack of pace in their defence.
Waterford didn’t play like a side that came into the game on top of the league with the Blues opting to go direct rather than try and pass the ball through the thirds. The Waterford players looked nervous on the ball, whereas City looked comfortable.
The home fans didn’t have to wait long to celebrate their side going ahead. In the 15th minute, Keating pounced on a mistake from Eddie Nolan and the striker composed himself before calmly finishing the ball under Blues goalkeeper Brian Murphy to score his first home goal for the club.
City doubled their lead three minutes later. Keating, who was full of confidence after his goal, showed great perseverance down the right-hand side and his low driven ball across the Waterford six-yard box was turned into his own net by Power.
[ Edit - The referee's report and video show Cian Murphy got the final touch before the ball crossed the line ]
Apart from conceding the two goals, Ian Morris would have been disappointed by his side’s overall general play. The Blues produced very little going forward. They were more in hope than belief that they could half the deficit quickly. Ally Gilchrist was again showing what a valuable signing he has been with his dominant display in defence.
Out of possession, Waterford applied little pressure and stood off the City players. It was City that looked the most likely team to score the third goal of the game with Cian Bargary next to try his luck but his effort sailed just wide of Murphy’s goal.
Crowley was making a positive impact on his first start of the season. The 22-year-old was showing his worth with his defensive duties by making an excellent block to deny Kevin Joshua from scoring, and at the other end, Crowley saw a speculative effort go over the bar.
City dominance continued late into half and Barry Coffey will feel he should have hit the target with his strike but unfortunately for the midfielder, it flashed just over the Waterford crossbar.
Waterford started the second-half brightly but struggled to break down a stubborn City defence. Kevin O’Connor, who was captaining the side in the absence of Coleman, was shining in the City back-three. He was showing his leadership qualities throughout with his impressive display as well as his continuous vocal encouragement to his teammates.
Waterford’s dangermen Junior Quitirna and Phoenix Patterson were anonymous thanks to the marshalling of Matt Healy and Aaron Bolger. Healy was also proving to be a danger offensively with the Ipswich Town loanee forcing Murphy into making a stunning save when the ball looked destined to end up in the top corner of the keeper’s net.
As the half grew, the pitch at Turners Cross deteriorated making it difficult for both sides to get any fluency to their game. The Waterford players in particular were struggling to cope with the difficult playing surface.
City goalkeeper David Harrington was called into action for the first time when he superbly denied Lewis Britton after the keeper got down low to parry the striker’s effort. Britton was guilty of missing his side’s best opportunity of the game soon afterwards when he failed to hit the target from close-range.
Referee: Paul Norton.[event_performance 116420]