Cork keep the pressure on Dundalk
Limerick 0-1 Cork City
It had been a grim game, but the wild Cork City celebrations were utterly justified.
Manager John Caulfield waited until all of his players had left the Thomond Park pitch before strolling towards the away supporters to receive acclaim for what could turn out to be a defining triumph.
Substitute Rob Lehane’s 77th minute strike proved to be the decisive moment as Cork pocketed the full complement of spoils.
Relieved and encouraged Caulfield’s passion has City supporters feeling good about themselves again.
“There weren’t many chances in the match, it was a real tight game,” Caulfield admitted. “Both teams tried to play and the intensity was really high. We brought on young Lehane who had been out injured for a long time and he got a brilliant strike.”
Cork’s penchant for securing dramatic late victories is something Caulfield hopes will help them set up a winner-takes-all collision with Dundalk on the final night of the season.
“We have won a lot of games really late – we have beaten Rovers and Pat’s recently in a similar fashion,” Caulfield added.
“Everyone thinks Dundalk have the League won. People have been saying for a long time that it is Dundalk’s League and whatever. Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not.Hopefully we can bring it to the last day of the season.”
A strangely subdued opening period was short on incident and chances as Limerick’s diligent defending frustrated the title chasing visitors. When Cork eventually crafted a 27th minute opportunity Billy Dennehy was denied by Barry Ryan.
Cork custodian Mark McNulty also made a fine stop from Rory Gaffney in the 32nd minute, but when the interval rolled around the teams remained deadlocked. City were completely aware that a victory needed to be posted so the third quarter carried significant implications for the Leesiders’.
But the third quarter was edgy and error strewn as Cork were once again frustrated when Ryan saved from Dennehy on 53. Limerick continued to battle ensuring the closing stages were packed with importance for Cork.
Lehane’s introduction injected urgency and impetus into Cork’s approach. Thirteen minutes remained when Lehane wriggled clear to manufacture sufficient space to unleash a goal which maintains Cork’s title bid.
LIMERICK FC – Ryan; Nzuzi, Leahy, Folan, O’Connor; Djilali (Oji, 78), Agyemang, Tracy (Mann, 78), Doherty (Rainsford, 58); Lynch; Gaffney.
CORK CITY – McNulty; Dunleavy, McSweeney, Murray, Gaynor; O’Shea (J Kavanagh, 82), Morrissey, Healy, Kearney (Lehane, 59); Dennehy (O’Leary, 85); O’Sullivan.
REFEREE – D Tomney (Dublin).
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