Report by Henry O’Donovan.
Cork City ran out 3-0 winners, and retained the President’s Cup, against Dundalk at Turner’s Cross on Friday night.
Both teams started well, passing the ball and looking to attack. The first clear cut chance of the game fell to Dundalk seven minutes in, as a slip allowed Ciarán Kilduff through one on one. Mark McNulty was equal to the task, as he was off his line quickly to block.
The Leesiders were one goal up on the quarter hour mark. Sean Maguire latched onto a long ball forward and ran at the Dundalk defence. He powered past his man before smashing a low shot through Gabriel Sava’s legs.
The home side continued to control the pace of the game with Dundalk being limited to shots from distance. It looked as though City had doubled their lead on 26 minutes. Following a corner, the ball broke to the edge of the area, where Conor McCormack volleyed it back into the mix. The ball went over everyone and it looked to be a simple catch for Sava, but the ball slipped through his hands and into the goal. Unfortunately for City, the flag went up as Jimmy Keohane was returning from an offside position.
37 minutes in Dundalk almost had their equaliser. Patrick McEleney got free down the left wing and chipped to the back post for John Mountney. He headed the ball back in the direction it came from, causing McNulty to produce a world class save as, at full stretch, he got his fingertips to the ball and clawed it around the post.
City had one more chance to double their lead before half time. Garry Buckley went on a charging run through the midfield before playing through Maguire. Maguire got there before the onrushing Sava and skipped past him, but was pushed too far wide and his shot found the side netting.
Following the interval the home side continued to attack, without any clear cut chances. Keohane pulled a volley wide just after the hour mark.
The Leesiders got their second goal in the 66th minute. Stephen Dooley was played through and brought down just outside the box. From the left hand side of the penalty area, with the angle against him, Kevin O’Connor stepped up and curled an inch perfect left footed shot into the top left corner. Sava got a fingertip to it but the placement was too good and he couldn’t keep it out.
The home side was in the ascendancy now and Dundalk were struggling to get momentum. Substitute Karl Sheppard proved to be a constant threat in behind as Dundalk pushed forward looking to get back in the game. In the 78th minute he went close as he beat his man down the right wing before firing his shot across goal and narrowly wide.
The visitors did come close to pulling a goal back two minutes before the end. The ball was played in from the right between defence and goalkeeper. Ciarán Kilduff looked to pounce but McNulty was out quick to smother. The players clashed, resulting in Kilduff being stretchered off with an injury.
There was one more goal in the game for City as Karl Sheppard got his name on the scoresheet. Receiving the ball on the right wing, he glided past the first man, cut inside the second and jinked past the third before blasting the ball low into the net.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie (Shane Griffin 83), Conor McCormack, Gary Delaney, Kevin O’Connor; Jimmy Keohane, Garry Buckley, Greg Bolger (Karl Sheppard 65), Gearoid Morrissey (Conor Ellis 87), Stephen Dooley (Conor McCarthy 90); Sean Maguire.
Subs Not Used: Alan Smith, Garan Manley, Achille Campion.
Dundalk: Gabriel Sava; Sean Gannon (Niclas Vemmelund 80), Brian Gartland, Paddy Barrett, Dane Massey; John Mountney (Steven Kinsella73), Robbie Benson, Stephen O’Donnell (Conor Clifford 77), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy (Jamie McGrath 80); Ciaran Kilduff (Carlton Ubaezuono 90).
Subs Not Used: Ben Kelly, Sean Hoare.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer