Cork City continued their positive start to 2014, as John Caulfield’s side made it two wins from two with a comfortable victory over Waterford United at Knockgriffin Park in Midleton.
City imposed themselves from the off against a youthful Waterford side, with the attacking trio of Michael Rafter, Anthony Elding and Billy Dennehy (pictured above) a constant threat to the Blues’ defence. Waterford won a corner inside five minutes, but they failed to work Mark McNulty in the City goal, and from then on it was City who posed the attacking threat. Rafter, who previously had a spell with Waterford, was keen to get on the ball, dropping into space and causing problems for the defence. Twice within the opening twenty minutes the Tipperary native did well to create space for himself, but was unable to get an effort on target.
Waterford did attempt to threaten on the break, and they were appealing for a penalty some twenty minutes in, but referee Graham Kelly gave the decision the other way. On the half hour City made a change, as Darren Murphy was replaced by Andy O’Connell. O’Connell slotted in to the centre of defence, with Garry Buckley stepping forward to take Murphy’s place in midfield. Shortly after that, Waterford made McNulty work for the first time; City won a free on the left wing, and Waterford counter-attacked after Kevin Burns had claimed the free, with McNulty having to get down smartly to stop an effort on target.
City finally made good on their attacking threat ten minutes before half time. Rafter, who had been causing problems for the defence from the off, was taken down on the edge of the box, and Billy Dennehy stepped up to place the free kick into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Burns. Five minutes later, Dennehy and Rafter were again involved as City doubled their lead. Dennehy did well on the left, and put a fine cross in for Rafter, who nipped in ahead of his marker to finish well.
John Caulfield made a couple of changes at half time, with both of the trialists being replaced; Ian Turner replaced Paul Craig on the right wing, and Danny Murphy came on for Kevin Mulcahy at left back. Andy O’Connell was shown a yellow card moments into the second half, after halting a Waterford counter-attack with a late challenge. The resultant free was well hit, but did not dip low enough to bother McNulty. City made Waterford pay almost instantly, as they stretched their lead even further; John Kavanagh crossed well and Anthony Elding was on hand with a smart finish.
On the hour, Caulfield made a further three changes: McNulty, Morrissey and Buckley were replaced by Gledhill, Horgan and Lenihan. City’s third goal had effectively ended the game as a contest, and the pace of the game dipped somewhat for a spell. Waterford came close to getting on the scoresheet on 72 minutes, as a ball over the top caused a problem for Gledhill, but Andy O’Connell got back well to clear a goal bound effort off the line. City reacted almost instantly, as Elding was denied at the other end by a good save. Both sides created another couple of half chances, John Kavanagh, who had moved into central midfield, had City’s best chance as he shot narrowly wide with moments remaining.
After the game, John Caulfield said he was pleased with his side’s performance, and we will have more reaction from the City boss on CorkCityFC.ie.
Cork City: McNulty (Gledhill 61), Kavanagh, Buckley (Horgan 61), D. Dennehy (Forde 71), Mulcahy (Danny Murphy 45), Craig (Turner 45), G. Morrissey (Lenihan 61) Darren Murphy (O’Connell 31), B. Dennehy, Elding, Rafter.
Referee: Graham Kelly