CORK CITY 2 FINN HARPS 0 George Williams KEVIN DOYLE was given a standing ovation by an estimated 5,000 fans at Turner's Cross last night as he marked his last match for Cork City before his transfer to Reading with two goals, which gave the eircom League leaders a comfortable victory over Finn Harps.
Doyle was substituted after 68 minutes, with Cork having the points firmly secured after outclassing a Harps team that was forced to play with 10 players from the tenth minute when Shane Bradley was sent off.
Last night's victory enabled the Leesiders to move four points clear at the head of the table but, while there was much to admire in the manner in which they dominated Harps, manager Damien Richardson was inevitably disappointed they did not make their superiority count more effectively on the scoresheet.
The dismissal of Bradley inevitably had a profound influence on the game. The Harps' defender was sent off when, as the last man back, he pulled back Doyle as the Cork centre forward ran clear of the defence.
Harps had to reshuffle their team and within another 20 minutes manager Felix Healy had to make a substitution in an effort to stem the flood of attacks being unleashed by Cork.
Doyle was always involved. His pace, close control and powerful running meant that the Harps' defence suffered a torrid time.
Little wonder, then, that it was the Reading-bound hotshot who opened the scoring on 30 minutes after a lovely piece of inter-play with George O'Callaghan.
O'Callaghan was through on goal from Neal Horgan's incisive pass and then made sure of a successful end to the move by squaring the ball back for Doyle to knock it home.
The second goal arrived on the stroke of half-time and again it was as a result of a combination between O'Callaghan and Doyle. This time, O'Callaghan's corner from the right fell to Doyle's feet near the penalty spot and he shot left-footed on the turn to beat goalkeeper Gavin Cullen.
CORK CITY - Devine, Horgan, Bennett, Murray, Woods, O'Donovan, O'Brien, O'Callaghan, Gamble, Doyle (O'Flynn 66), Fenn (O'Halloran 75).
FINN HARPS - Cullen, McGowan, Boyle, Bradley, Asokuh, Capper, Funston (Seydak 83), Gorman, McGavigan (Cowan 83), McHugh, Breen (Crossan 37).
REFEREE - P Tuite (Dublin)