Report by Denis Hurley for EchoLive.ie
Teenager Cian Bargary marked his league debut with the all-important goal as Cork City beat UCD in Belfield to make it three wins from four under John Cotter on Monday night.
Six minutes after his introduction, Tipperary native Bargary made his mark as he reacted when Karl Sheppard’s looping header eluded goalkeeper Conor Kearns and came back off the crossbar, leaving a straightforward finish. The win moves City up to sixth place in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, their highest placing since March.
City, with Garry Buckley back after three games out, replacing Graham Cummins, began well. James Tilley tested Kearns with an effort from outside the area in the third minute, then Buckley got his head to a Gary Boylan cross but he couldn’t harness enough power.
On seven minutes, Buckley’s through ball gave Karl Sheppard the chance for an early shot but again Kearns was able to stop the ball and when a Tilley corner broke, Dáire O’Connor’s shot was off-target.
However, the Rebel Army couldn’t build on that and the home side had the better opportunities for the remainder of the first half. Neil Farrugia on the left flank was a constant threat for UCD, providing chances for Paul Doyle and Richie O’Farrell before a Mark McNulty slip afforded Seán McDonald a sight of goal but the goalkeeper redeemed himself with a brilliant reflex save.
At the other end, Kearns endured similar troubles as Sheppard dispossessed him in the area but he was forced wide and his shot from a tight angle wasn’t troubling the custodian, who had recovered his position.
Just before the break, UCD forced the best chance of the first period. Once again, Farrugia was the source of the danger with a great cross from the left, but, despite a free header, Doyle couldn’t divert the ball goalwards and City held out.
On the resumption, Sheppard’s cross was just out of the reach of Dáire O’Connor and in the 50th minute Tilley’s delivery got a glancing touch from Sheppard but Kearns’ reactions were once again of the highest order.
UCD defender Liam Scales then had to be alert to divert clear a low Tilley cross but at the other end a scramble from a corner could so easily have ended up with the ball in the City net.
Just before the midway point in the half, Bargary was introduced for Dáire O’Connor and he tested Kearns from a tight angle soon after his arrival before coming up with the goods for the goal on 72.
Sheppard almost followed that up with a second, his low shot across goal and wide and though UCD pressed, they were restricted to efforts from outside the box. Jason McClelland fired an effort over with Seán McDonald firing wide while Garry Comerford heroically blocked Gary O’Neill’s shot.
Kevin O’Connor might have made it 2-0 near the end, Kearns saving and Seán McLoughlin heading over from Tilley’s resultant corner, but one goal was enough and it was one to remember for Bargary.