Sunday 19 November 2017

Cork keep title hopes alive as Dennehy finds answer

Cork City 2 Sligo Rovers 1

Billy Dennehy, Cork City, celebrates with team-mates Mark O'Sullivan and Garry Buckley after scoring his side's second goal (SPORTSFILE)
Billy Dennehy, Cork City, celebrates with team-mates Mark O'Sullivan and Garry Buckley after scoring his side's second goal (SPORTSFILE)
Goals from John O'Flynn and Billy Dennehy cancelled out Danny Ledwith's opener to ensure that John Caulfield's side remain hot on the heels of Dundalk at the summit of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division (SPORTSFILE)
Billy Dennehy, Cork City, celebrates with team-mates and a supporter after scoring his side's second goal (SPORTSFILE)

Ryan Kelly

Cork City kept their title hopes alive with a dramatic come-from-behind win against Sligo Rovers at Turner's Cross last night.

Goals from John O'Flynn and Billy Dennehy cancelled out Danny Ledwith's opener to ensure that John Caulfield's side remain hot on the heels of Dundalk at the summit of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.

The Leesiders started the game brightly, attacking from the off and the first real chance fell to Colin Healy, who intercepted a loose ball at the edge of the area.

However the former Ireland international's shot was weak and trickled painfully wide of the net, much to the relief of Gary Rogers.

Sligo had a great chance to take the lead 10 minutes into the tie when Raffaele Cretaro cleverly nicked the ball from Dan Murray before teeing up Paul O'Conor. However, the ex-UCD midfielder's deflected shot produced an instinctive save from Mark McNulty to keep the score level.

Eamon Zayed broke through on goal soon afterwards following a mistake by Murray but the Libya international's shot was blocked by an excellent tackle from Darren Dennehy.

The visitors eventually took the lead after 31 minutes as Ledwith found the ball on the left-hand side before firing a cross-cum-shot from 35 yards which astonishingly beat McNulty and nestled into the corner of the net.

Despite being second best for much of the first half, the home side came out rejuvenated in the second half and bagged an equalising goal after 58 minutes as substitute John O'Flynn showed excellent composure, to knock it past Rogers after industrious work from Mark O'Sullivan.

It was only a matter of minutes before the Leesiders claimed the lead as McNulty's long ball found Billy Dennehy, who sprinted past Gavin Peers before drilling a shot into the corner of the net.

Shell-shocked, the Bit O' Red began to fire shots from all angles and David Cawley, in particular flashed a number of powerful efforts goalwards in vain.

It grew into an intense affair and Sligo's frustrations began to show, with O'Conor collecting a yellow card for a needless foul on Ross Gaynor as his former team-mate surged forward.

Handed

With only a matter of minutes remaining, Sligo were handed an excellent opportunity to draw matters level when Michael McSweeney conceded a penalty.

However, it was a chance spurned as striker Danny North failed to convert, drawing relieved cheers from the 3,000-strong Turner's Cross crowd.

Gavin Dykes threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser, but the Leesiders held firm to pick up a valuable three points.

Cork City resume their title hunt against Drogheda United at Turner's Cross next Friday, while Sligo Rovers will look to end their slump at home to UCD.

Cork City - McNulty, Dunleavy, Dennehy, Murray, Gaynor, Morrissey, Healy, Buckley (McSweeney 80), O'Shea (O'Flynn 54 (O'Leary 90), B Dennehy, O'Sullivan

Sligo Rovers - Rogers, Ledwith, Peers, McMillan, North, Cawley, Cretaro, O'Conor (Armstrong 64), Zayed (Keating 75), Boylan, Conneely

Irish Independent

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