By Andrew Horgan for EchoLive.ie
Cork City ended a disappointing SSE Airtricity League First Division campaign on a high as they defeated Galway United 3-0 at Turner’s Cross on Friday evening.
Goals from Jonas Hakkinen, Alec Byrne, and Cian Coleman earned Colin Healy, who handed Cathal Heffernan his senior debut, and his players a morale-boosting victory which proved to be enough to see them climb a place in the table on the final day to finish sixth.
Healy made four changes from his team that were beaten 1-0 by UCD two weeks ago with Dylan McGlade, Steven Beattie, Alex Byrne, and Gordon Walker coming in for Ronan Hurley, Gearoid Morrissey, Cian Bargary, and Josh Honohan.
John Caulfield, in the opposing dugout, made ten changes from his side that defeated Bray Wanderers last weekend as their attention turns to their upcoming playoff game with their runners-up spot in the table already secured.
That contributed to the feeling that this was no more than an end-of-season dead-rubber in the first half as the visitors’ only attempt of note threatened the stability of the Shed End’s roof rather than the City goal.
The Rebel Army controlled the possession for large spells but their only sights at goal in the first 29 minutes came from distance but both Alec Byrne, after good work from Sean Kennedy, and Dylan McGlade, following a surging run, sent their strikes just over the bar.
But at the half an hour mark they took the lead thanks to Hakkinen, who expertly headed McGlade’s free-kick from the left flank into the bottom right corner for his first City goal.
They needed goalkeeper David Harrington to help maintain that advantage seconds into the second half as he raced from his line to bravely smother the ball at the feet of Carlton Ubaezuonu, who also missed a great chance when one on one late on.
That moment proved decisive as City made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute when Cian Murphy’s deflected shot from Gordon Walker’s cross broke kindly for Byrne, allowing the midfielder to calmly stroke the ball just inside the near post from a few yards.
And with the aid of another deflection, City grabbed a third on 72 minutes with Coleman’s volley from McGlade’s corner finding the bottom left corner to secure an impressive win to end the season.
Referee: Robert Dowling.[event_performance 110798]