By Denis Hurley for EchoLive.ie
John Cotter’s tenure as Cork City interim manager got off to a winning start as Conor McCarthy’s first-half goal was the difference at Dalymount Park on Friday night.
Since beating Bohs 2-0 at Turner’s Cross on March 15, City had gone eight Premier Division games without a win, resulting in manager John Caulfield’s departure earlier this week. They bounced back though as McCarthy headed home a free kick by James Tilley in the 22nd minute and good defending in the second half ensured that third-placed Bohs couldn’t find an equaliser. The result leaves City level on points with Sligo Rovers ahead of the Bit o’Red’s clash with Shamrock Rovers tonight.
For his first team, Cotter made five changes from Monday’s draw with Finn Harps, though one was enforced as Shane Griffin picked up a knock in the warm-up with Garry Comerford coming in. Like Comerford, former City man Dan Casey and Conor McCormack were back after suspension with Gearóid Morrissey returning from injury and Darragh Rainsford also included. Colm Horgan, Garry Buckley, Pierce Phillips and Graham Cummins were the others to miss out.
Unfortunately for Morrissey, he was forced off just before half-time but by that stage City had taken the lead. Having begun brightly, City looked to have ceded the initiative to Bohs, with a low Danny Grant almost causing problems as the ball deflected off Seán McLoughlin and out of Mark McNulty’s reach but Casey cleared.
However, just before the midway point of the half, Morrissey was fouled as he contested a McNulty goal-kick. Tilley whipped in the free kick from the right and McCarthy met the ball at the back post, heading back across goal and in.
While Bohs continued to play good football in the wake of the concession, Conor McCormack led a strong City effort in stymieing them and it wasn’t until injury time that McNulty had to make his first save, from a low long-range Conor Levingston effort.
At the other end, Tilley had gone closest to a City second, shooting over with an acrobatic effort, but they were happy to retire with a 1-0 lead.
There might have been a chance to double that advantage immediately after the restart as Phillips made good headway on the left and looked for Rainsford with a low cross but James Finnerty did well to cut out the danger. Soon after that, Tilley forced a turnover and tested James Talbot but he saved at the expense of a corner.
The solid defending continued, though Bohs went close just after the hour mark, Kevin Devaney heading wide after a good cross from the right by Grant.
As the clock moved on, the pressure increased but City’s discipline remained. A dangerous cross was whipped in by Mandroiu on 77 but there was no Bohs player there to profit.
It was a similar situation in the final minute of normal time as Grant sent a low ball across, just out of the reach of Darragh Leahy. Four additional minutes proved equally as frustrating for the Gypises as City took the points.
Referee: Damien MacGraith