Controversial penalty puts Cork City just four points behind Dundalk in title race
Finn Harps 0 Cork City 1
SEAN MAGUIRE’S penalty saw 10-man Cork City go within four points of Dundalk at the top of the table.
Maguire tucked home a hotly-disputed spot kick to give the Leesiders a hard-eanred win over Finn Harps.
Ciaran Coll was adjudged to have impeded Garry Buckley inside the area and Maguire made no mistake for the only goal of the game. It was a decision that left Ollie Horgan, the Harps manager, livid on the sideline.
Cork finished with 10 men after Steven Beattie was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 79th minute, but Maguire’s goal would prove the only separator.
Gearoid Morrissey forced the diving Ciaran Gallagher into a save after 20 minutes with a testing drive, but Cork struggled to punch holes in a Harps side that belied that of a team that hadn’t won, or scored, in over two months.
Ollie Horgan showed five changes to a Harps side that lost to bottom club Longford on Friday , with Gallagher one of the handful of men to come in.
Cork knew they were in a game in Ballybofey with Mark McNulty having to hold onto a stinging attempt by Adam Hanlon, while Sean Houston riffled wide from the edge of the area.
Gallagher did well to tip over after a Buckley shot took a deflection on the way while Karl Sheppard had too much back lift and his effort was always rising.
An ambitious Ruairi Keating attempt from wide on the ride flashed just over with a reminder that Harps were capable.
But when Paul Tuite pointed to the spot and Maguire converted, Cork moved ever closer to the champions, although there were nervy moments as Houston, Dave Scully and Tony McNamee all had chances for the hosts.
Finn harps – C Gallagher; E Boyle, K Cowan, J Mailey, C Coll; A Hanlon (T McNamee 79), M Funston (R Curran 74), B Molloy (G Harkin 56), S Houston; D Scully, R Keating.
Cork City – M McNulty; S Beattie, D Mulcahy, A Bennett, K O’Connor; G Bolger, G Morrissey (M O’Sullivan 90); K Sheppard (D Morrissey 58), G Buckley, S Dooley (M McSweeney 80); S Maguire.
Ref – P Tuite (Dublin).