On fire Maguire hits brace as unstoppable Cork secure another convincing win
Cork 4 Limerick 1
Cork City showed no ill-effects of the mid-season break as they picked up exactly where they left off at Turner’s Cross.
As with so many of their 17 league wins to date, this was a comprehensive victory for John Caulfield’s side without them having to be at their best.
Once more, Seán Maguire was able to provide a large share of the goals – he opened the scoring in the first half and then made it 3-1 before the second half was more than 20 seconds old.
Even with 44-and-a-half minutes to play after that, there was no doubting where the three points were heading. Paul O’Conor did have a good chance to pull one back for Limerick on 73 minutes, but even if he had done so, City would probably have upped a gear and responded again. As it was, Jimmy Keohane was able to curl home a beauty late on to leave it 4-1, which didn’t flatter the Rebel Army.
If there was a surprising aspect to the home performance, it was an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration immediately after going ahead. Maguire and Sheppard had linked well for the lead goal, exchanging passes before the striker headed home his 17th league goal.
From the kick-off though, former City attacker Chiedozie Ogbene chased the ball beyond the defence and Mark McNulty was deemed to have tripped him as he took the ball wide.
Rodrigo Tosi’s penalty was emphatically struck to the corner of the net, but even with parity restored Limerick looked on borrowed time.
Goalkeeper Brendan Clarke was called upon to make a number of saves and there were chances off-target too, but on 43 Stephen Dooley’s 25-yard shot was perfectly placed, allowing City to lead at half-time.
Immediately on the resumption, Cork were two ahead. When Robbie Williams didn’t get enough on a backpass, Maguire seized on it, rounding Clarke and finishing well.
They looked very comfortable after that, even allowing for the departure of John Dunleavy through injury, with Conor McCormack dropping to centre-back as Greg Bolger came in.
Shane Duggan was off-target from distance while O’Conor could have made a game of it. Instead, City had the final say as Keohane netted impressively, though it took a great Mark McNulty save to deny Limerick sub Garbhan Coughlan at the death.
CORK CITY – McNulty; Keohane, Dunleavy (Bolger 55), Bennett, O’Connor; McCormack, Morrissey; Sheppard, Buckley (O’Mahony 86), Dooley (Griffin 81); Maguire.
LIMERICK – B Clarke; D Clarke, Whitehead (Coughlan 75), Williams, O’Connor, Duggan; O’Conor, Lynch, Hery (Tracy 86); Tosi, Ogbene.
Ref – R Rogers (Dublin)