By Graham Cummins for EchoLive.ie
Cork City leapfrogged Galway United back to the top of the First Division after Colin Healy’s side defeated John Caulfield's team at Deacy Park on Friday night.
A Matt Healy wonder-goal was enough to secure the points for the visitors, who had to play the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Ruairi Keating received a red card against his former club.
It was an edgy start with neither side prepared to take any chances early on in the game. The two top teams in the division didn’t show much ambition of playing through the thirds in the opening stages and more often than not went from back to front.
City were showing signs of nerves which was evident when Ally Gilchrist and David Harrington showed a lack of communication that gifted Galway a corner. From the set-piece, the Tribesmen went close through former City player Gary Boylan.
The first moment of quality in the game came from City. Colin Healy’s side demonstrated composure and calmness by putting a string of short passes together before Keating collected the ball and tried his luck from long range, but Conor Kearns was equal to the strike.
City were ahead in the 18th minute through Matt Healy. The Ipswich Town loanee was given far too much time and space just outside the penalty area, and the midfielder once again showed his quality by striking the ball into the far top corner, giving Kearns no chance.
Cian Murphy went close to adding to City’s lead. The striker gathered the ball outside the Galway penalty area before driving into the box and seeing his effort hit the outside of the post. In the build-up to Murphy’s strike, the player did appear to be tripped by a Galway player in the penalty area but the Tipperary native chose not to go to the ground, much to the dismay of those on the City bench.
Galway thought they were level when Wilson Waweru rose highest at the back post but he was denied initially by Harrington, and then by Josh Honohan who cleared the ball off the line from his keeper’s save.
The final 15 minutes of the half was uneventful with both sides cancelling each other out. Waweru did spurn another opportunity from a header, but apart from that effort, most of the action came from both teams opting to take long throws at every opportunity which caused little trouble for either side.
Galway showed more intent at the beginning of the second half with the Tribesmen putting the visitors under a lot of pressure. However, City were dealing with what Galway had to offer. Colin Healy’s players remained disciplined in their defensive shape but were dropping very deep.
Substitute Manu Dimas almost caught Harrington off guard when his cross come shot nearly drifted in at the far post, but much to the delight of the City keeper, the Galway player’s effort was just off target.
City were reduced to 10 when Keating was given a straight red card. The former Galway player appeared to swing an arm to the back of the head of Diego Portilla after the defender tried to block Keating’s run, and gave referee Oliver Moran no choice but to send the player off.
Despite Galway increasing the pressure on City, the visitors managed to hang on for the victory.
Referee: Oliver Moran.[event_performance 116319]