Monday 24 April 2017

Classy Cork pick Dundalk apart

Cork City 3 Dundalk 0

Cork's Kevin O'Connor celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Cork's Kevin O'Connor celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Cork's year will be defined by their league finish but this was an enjoyable start to business for Turner's Cross regulars.

John Caulfield's charges have endured so much pain at the hands of Dundalk that they will never tire of beating them and the 3,000+ crowd were content at full-time.

Sean Maguire of Cork in action against John Mountney of Dundalk during the President's Cup match at Turner's Cross in Cork. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Sean Maguire of Cork in action against John Mountney of Dundalk during the President's Cup match at Turner's Cross in Cork. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

This win in the curtain-raising President's Cup means that Cork have actually won five of the last six meetings with Stephen Kenny's side. It was their inability to be as efficient against other teams that really cost them.

And, while defeat in this game 12 months ago ended up spurring Dundalk into life, Caulfield will have taken satisfaction from this outcome - especially as he sent out a more experimental side.

He fielded his capture from Derry, Conor McCormack, out of position at centre-half with Alan Bennett out and Kenny Browne on the verge of a contentious move to Waterford.

The Louth native paired up with loan arrival Ryan Delaney. Jimmy Keohane also debuted on the right wing.

By contrast, the only fresh Dundalk face to start was Michael Duffy - Daryl Horgan's replacement - with Kenny waiting until the second half to trial other new faces from the bench.

The real concern for the Lilywhites boss came at the death when an accidental collision between Ciaran Kilduff and Mark McNulty on a pitch that had cut up due to rain earlier in the day resulted in the luckless Dundalk striker being stretchered off.

With Dave McMillan already out of next Friday's opener with Shamrock Rovers, new signing Thomas Stewart will suddenly become very important.

Cork led at the break, with the new campaign starting as the old one finished with FAI Cup hero Sean Maguire in the right place to haunt his former employer.

Keeping hold of the Kilkenny man was a real coup for the Leesiders and he demonstrated his worth by turning Paddy Barrett inside out before drilling under the body of Gabriel Sava.

Cork were sharper in the opening half-hour, and the unconvincing Sava was fortunate when the offside flag was raised after a deflected McCormack cross slipped through his legs.

But Dundalk did have spells where they showed their quality, with Patrick McEleney dangerous in the creative role. McNulty, who had earlier denied Kilduff from close range, brilliantly kept out a John Mountney header.

Both teams threatened in an entertaining second half, but the insurance goal for Cork came when Sava could only palm a clever Kevin O'Connor free into the top corner. Shortly after the distraught Kilduff was taken away, City sub Karl Sheppard's injury-time solo run wrapped things up nicely.

Cork City - McNulty, Beattie (Griffin 83), McCormack, Delaney, O'Connor; Morrissey (Ellis 86), Bolger (Sheppard 65); Keohane, Buckley, Dooley (McCarthy 90); Maguire.

Dundalk - Sava, Gannon (Vemmelund 80), Barrett, Gartland, Massey; O'Donnell (Clifford 76), Benson; Mountney (Kinsella 73), McEleney, Duffy (McGrath 80); Kilduff (Ubaezuonu 90).

Ref - A Buttimer (Cork)

Irish Independent

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