Cork City claimed the President’s Cup for the third year in a row, after a stunning second half comeback saw them record a 4-2 win over Dundalk at Oriel Park.
The game began after an impeccably observed minutes silence in memory for the late Liam Miller, which was followed by a minutes applause on 22 minutes, a nod to his squad number when he played for City.
The home side began the better, with conditions deteriorating as heavy snow fell in Co. Louth, and could have hit the front inside ten minutes when Duffy headed narrowly wide. City responded just shy of the quarter hour when Cummins and McNamee combined to set up Sadlier but he was forced wide and Rogers claimed his effort.
Dundalk hit the front just before the 20 minute mark when Ronan Murray fired home; City failed to clear a cross from the left and Murray reacted quickest to shoot to the net from close range.
City almost levelled on the half hour when good work down the left resulted in a cross finding Jimmy Keohane on the penalty spot but he couldn’t keep his effort on target. After that scare, Dundalk came again and Connolly saw an effort deflected wide before Duffy hit the outside of the post. City failed to heed the warning signs and the home side doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Murray grabbed his second; again, it was a scrappy goal for City to concede, as he took advantage of hesitancy at the back.
It looked a long way back for City as the second half kicked off, but John Caulfield introduced Steven Beattie and Karl Sheppard at the interval and the latter wasted little time in pulling one back; racing onto a ball forward, the attacker showed bravery to win the race and find the net, taking a heavy hit as he did so.
Kieran Sadlier had looked a threat on occasion in the first half and he grew in influence as the game progressed and had a big role in the second goal, crossing from the left to find the unmarked Barry McNamee at the back post and he headed home.
With the sides now level, both teams had their moments as the half wore on; Sheppard had an effort blocked before Murray hit a free kick straight at Cherrie. With just over ten minutes to go, the man of the moment Sadlier had his say as he put his side ahead. City did well to retain possession and Aaron Barry played a clever ball forward to the attacker, who showed a nice touch before striking an unstoppable effort past the despairing Rogers from fully 30 yards out.
Dundalk had barely restarted the game when City struck again, with Graham Cummins making it 4-2. Again, Sadlier was involved, as he crossed from the left to find the striker who made no mistake at the front post to complete the comeback.