|02/06/17||19:30||SSE Airtricity League||2017||17|
Cork City recorded their 16th win of the season tonight after a 3-0 victory over Dundalk. A Sean Maguire hat-trick gave CCFC all three points at Oriel Park. The win sees the Leesiders enter the mid-season break undefeated in the league and 18 points ahead of their nearest rivals.
John Caulfield made one change from the side that defeated Shamrock Rovers a week prior. Alan Bennett returned to the starting eleven, replacing Greg Bolger. As a result, John Dunleavy moved to right back and Jimmy Keohane to midfield.
Maguire was the first to threaten in the opening minute of the game. He got on the end of Karl Sheppard’s low cross from the right but could only find the side netting. Nineteen minutes in, the Kilkenny native found the net from an almost-identical move. Stephen Dooley slipped the ball out wide to Sheppard and he found Maguire who cooly finished past Gary Rogers.
Ryan Delaney has had a habit of finding the net himself this season, and minutes later his header was cleared off the line. Maguire found himself in space on the half hour mark following Keohane’s cross from the left but he flashed his shot wide. City went into the break a goal up, also having the majority of possession and chances in the opening forty five minutes.
The away side continued to pile on the pressure after the restart. Maguire again found himself in a good position to shoot but Rogers pushed his effort to safety. Dundalk did have a brief spell of dominance, first Niclas Vemmelund forcing a decent save from Mark McNulty and Jamie McGrath blasted over when he found himself in space in the box. Robbie Benson was next to try and source an equaliser for Dundalk but again McNulty was on hand to deny the Lilywhites a reprieve.
The home crowd were buoyant following Dundalk’s string of chances, but there were silenced on the 70-minute mark. City had a throw-in deep in Dundalk’s half and Dunleavy cleverly threw it off Sheppard’s back with the ball bouncing back into his path. His left-footed cross was met by Maguire, and the man on fire nodded it home to send the away fans into raptures.
The league’s top scorer was eager to add to his tally and secured his 16th goal of the season in the dying stages of the game. Dane Massey’s casual pass back to Rogers was intercepted by Maguire and he made no mistake with a simple finish past a helpless Gary Rogers.
City’s next league game is against Limerick on June 16th as the Rebel Army will look to continue their excellent start to the 2017 season.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.