|09/03/18||20:00||SSE Airtricity League||2018||4||3,563||RTÉ|
Cork City suffered their first defeat of the season tonight after a 1-0 loss away to Dundalk at Oriel Park.
John Caulfield made two changes from the side that defeated Sligo Rovers. Conor McCarthy came in at centre-back for the injured Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley started in place of Barry McNamee.
The only goal came after just three minutes. Mark McNulty spilled Ronan Murray’s free-kick, and Patrick Hoban pounced to tap the ball home from close range. Murray threatened again from a set-piece minutes later but McNulty gathered. After picking up an early booking, Caulfield introduced McNamee for Conor McCormack just after the 20 minute mark.
City were restricted to long-range efforts, Steven Beattie and Kieran Sadlier trying their luck from range but failing to hit the target. The Leesiders’ best chance of the half fell to McNamee. He latched onto Graham Cummins’ header to find himself one-on-one with Gary Rogers, but his shot was straight at the ‘keeper. Sadlier’s rebounded shot was destined for goal but it deflected out for a corner.
Murray and Michael Duffy both came very close to doubling Dundalk’s lead. Murray’s first-time shot from the edge fo the box went just wide of the post. Shortly after, Duffy cut in from the left and his right-footed shot flew just wide of the post.
The home side had the better of the exchanges after the restart, Murray and Hoban again coming close as City battled well to keep the deficit to just one goal.
Referee Paul McLaughlin pointed to the spot mid-way through the half. Steven Beattie was adjudged to have fouled Robbie Benson in the box. Benson himself took the spot-kick, but McNulty saved brilliantly to deny the Lilywhite’s midfielder.
Benson again had a chance late on for Dundalk, breaking through on goal but he hit the side netting.
Next up for City is a home game against Shamrock Rovers on Monday night, lick off 7.45pm.