A second-half goal from Cabinteely captain Keith Dalton was the difference at Stradbrook Road as Cork City fell to defeat in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
Dalton’s strike in the 59th minute – aided by a deflection from City defender George Heaven – came after the Rebel Army had had the better of the game up to then, but efforts to force an equaliser came to nothing, despite late pressure.
City had two changes from their opening-night 2-1 win over Cobh Ramblers at Turner’s Cross. Steven Beattie, who missed the derby game through injury, came in at right-back for his second debut for the club as Gordon Walker missed out while Alec Byrne replaced Cory Galvin in midfield, replicating the change made during the Ramblers match.
Cabinteely had been the only other side to win last week, overcoming Wexford, so this was an early top-of-the-table clash but the game didn’t spark massively to life in the first half. City, wearing their new grey change strip for the first time, had more chances in the opening period, albeit without fully dominating their hosts.
Cian Bargary, last week’s matchwinner, had an early effort blocked by Kevin Knight for a corner while captain Gearóid Morrisey drew a save from Adam Hayden following a George Heaven flick-on from a Bargary throw.
In the 20th minute, City went closer than they previously had as Bargary met a McGlade corner but his header was cleared off the line by Cabinteely’s Seán McDonald. Moments later, a mix-up in the home side’s penalty area almost resulted in a freak own goal but the ball was diverted to safety.
At times, City were guilty of over-elaboration – conceding an unnecessary corner in the 23rd minute as Mark McNulty couldn’t reach Heaven’s back pass – but they continued to enjoy mor of the ball, with Cian Murphy an energetic and willing outlet at centre-forward.
As half-time approached, Jack Baxter and Dylan McGlade had efforts which failed to find the target and then, early in the second half, McGlade had a free-kick from distance which was deflected over the bar.
In the wake of that, Cabinteely’s Dalton tested McNulty with a low shot in the 56th minute. It was their first shot on target in the game up to then but they would have the lead three minutes later. When Dalton got space in a similar area on the right of the area, he again went for goal and the touch off Heaven took the ball whizzing past McNulty.
City sought to switch things up as they looked to conjure a response. McGlade and Bargary switched wings, as they had to good effect against Cobh, while Cory Galvin and Jack Walsh were brought on.
McGlade had a header saved while Byrne’s volley was also kept out by Hayden but there was always the danger of being caught on the break at the other end and Heaven did well to cut out a Vilius Labutis pass intended for McDonald.
Unable to find openings as time ticked by, City changed to 4-4-2 in the closing stages as Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh came on for Beattie to join Walsh up front with Byrne moving to right-back, but Cabinteely held firm Kieran Waters almost set up a chance for them to make it 2-0 but Heaven defended well again.
In the second-last minute of normal time, good work from McGlade set up Walsh but Hayden was again on hand to maintain the Cabinteely clean sheet and the goalkeeper had a late shot from Galvin which was straight at him.
City had a final flourish in injury time as Bargary forced another stop from Hayden but a succession of corners resulted in nothing and the home side took the points.
Alan Carey (Wexford).