Cork City’s campaign in this season’s EA Sports Cup came to an end at Turner’s Cross on Tuesday night as they were easily beaten by Limerick in their second-round clash.
The home side can have little or no complaints with how this game went, as Limerick played some nice football and were full value for the victory, City, missing Dave Rogers and Davin O’Neill, just never able to get going.
In front of a crowd of 776, the visitors had by far the better of the first half, former Cork City player Sean Kelly testing Michael Devine in the home goal with a low long-range shot as early as the fourth minute, and from the resulting corner Pat Purcell shot over.
Daryl Kavanagh and Robbie Kelleher were linking excellently up front for Limerick and Kavanagh saw his shot saved by Devine in the ninth minute before being booked for a dive in the penalty area soon after.
City players were not averse to silly yellow cards either though, Stephen Mulcahy and Eoin Forde both being cautioned, but real home attempts were proving to be thin on the ground, and the cause wasn’t helped when Gearoid Morrissey, making his first start for the club, had to retire injured in the 21st minute.
In contrast, Limerick continued to create opportunities, Kelleher denied by Devine and on the half-hour the goalkeeper had to get down well to claim a loose ball in the box after a scramble.
A goal looked to be coming though, and it did in the 36th minute, Pat Purcell rising at the back post to head a Peter Balough corner back across and into the net.
Soon after that, Kelleher was unlucky to see his 35-yard shot hit the bar after he disposed Mulcahy and saw Devine slightly off his line, but there was nothing fortunate about Limerick’s second goal a minute later.
Kelleher it was who scored it, firing home from 10 yards, after a neat one-two with Kavanagh, and it was Limerick who led by two at half-time.
Tommy Dunne made two changes at half-time, Ian Turner and Graham Cummins replacing Dave Clancy and Paul Deasy respectively, and a move to 4-4-2 seemed to signal a change in the game’s pattern.
Rory Morrissey went close with a 20-yard shot within two minutes and Cummins, played in by a nice Greg O’Halloran ball, shot straight at Ryan but then, from almost nowhere, Limerick added a third.
When Kavanagh received a pass from Jason Hughes 25 yards out there did not look to be much of, but he unleashed a bullet of a shot that gave Devine no chance to more or less decide the outcome.
Rory Morrissey’s shot after a free in broke in the 72nd minute went just past the post and, as if to prove that City’s luck wasn’t in, Limerick escaped when Shane Duggan’s shot hit Kelleher on the hand in the box a minute later.
With nine minutes left, Willie Heffernan made a good run that took him into the box but his shot was straight at Dave Ryan, but Limerick were never going to be denied their victory and closed out the remainder of the game well.
CORK CITY: Devine; Clancy (Turner half-time), Mulcahy, O’Halloran, Hojan; Warren, G Morrissey (Duggan 20, injured), Forde; Heffernan, R Morrissey, Deasy (Cummins half-time).
LIMERICK: Ryan; Kelly, Purcell, Roche, Clinton (White 66); Hughes, Lyons, Balough (Tracy 56), Judge; Kelleher (McGrath 77), Kavanagh.
Referee: G Kelly (Cork).