Saturday 24 February 2018

Dooley finishes off Harps to keep Cork in the hunt

Cork City 2 Finn Harps 0

Cork City's Stephen Dooley. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cork City's Stephen Dooley. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ryan Kelly

Cork City recovered from the disappointment of Tuesday's loss to Dundalk to see off Finn Harps with minimal fuss.

An own-goal from Damien McNulty put the hosts ahead just before the interval, and Stephen Dooley doubled the advantage on the hour mark.

With the rain cascading down at Turner's Cross, it was difficult for both sides, and there were chances at either end early on.

Karl Sheppard spurned an excellent opportunity to fire the hosts into the lead after nine minutes when he sent Garry Buckley's neat cut-back wide.

Tony McNamee curled a powerful effort narrowly wide of Mark McNulty's post shortly afterwards.

Cork eventually took the lead a minute before half-time. The goal was more a product of the inclement weather than any nous on the hosts' part as Kevin O'Connor's hopeful corner skidded off McNulty and past his own goalkeeper.

Finn Harps' Ethan Boyle in action against Cork City's Mark O’Sullivan. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Finn Harps' Ethan Boyle in action against Cork City's Mark O’Sullivan. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

John Caulfield's side were quicker to adapt to the worsening conditions in the second period and they threatened to double their lead on 55 when Sean Maguire was played through by Greg Bolger. However, the ball got stuck in a puddle on its way, bamboozling both striker and defender.

Cork eventually managed to extend their lead on the hour and Maguire was instrumental, playing a deft through-ball to Dooley (above), who was left with only Ciaran Gallagher to beat and he sent a low finish into the left corner of the net.

Harps struggled to create chances and they were almost caught on the counter when Mark O'Sullivan raced onto a clearance. However, he was pushed wide by his marker and Gallagher had the angle well covered.

Cork now look to Monday when they face St Patrick's Athletic at Richmond Park, while Harps take on relegation rivals Wexford Youths next Friday.

Cork City's Stephen Dooley in action against Finn Harps' Mark Hughes. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cork City's Stephen Dooley in action against Finn Harps' Mark Hughes. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork City - M McNulty, A Bennett, K Browne, K O'Connor (D Mulcahy, 71), S Beattie, G Bolger, G Buckley, G Holohan (M O'Sullivan, 54), K Sheppard, S Dooley (C Healy, 83), S Maguire

Finn Harps - C Gallagher, D McNulty, G Harkin, C Coll, M Funston (T McNamee, 2), A Hanlon, D Scully, E Boyle, B Molloy (BJ Banda, 64), J Mailey, R Curran.

Ref - R Rogers

McNally lifts Bray above Saints

Bray Wds 2 St Pat's Ath 1

Bray competed their first ever Premier clean sweep over St Pat's to keep their bid for fifth place alive.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time at a rain-swept Carlisle Grounds, the Seagulls netted off two corners to climb above their opponents in the table.

They drew level in the 57th minute when Conor Kenna flicked on Kevin Lynch's corner; Ger Pender claimed the score, but the ball seemed to go in off a Saints player.

Alan McNally's first goal of the 2016 campaign secured the win as he connected with Lynch's 70th-minute corner. The effort was blocked on the line but the veteran defender headed in the rebound.

Jamie McGrath's first league goal since May had put the Dubliners ahead - a 12th-minute header off Conan Byrne's cross which Peter Cherrie parried over the line.

Bray Wanderers - Cherrie; Douglas, Kenna, McNally, Lynch; Marks (McDonagh 90 +3), Sullivan, Noone, Connolly (Kehoe 83); Pender (Dean Kelly 78).

St Patrick's Athletic - Clarke; O'Brien, Darren Dennehy, Barker, Bermingham; Byrne, Desmond, Graham Kelly (Cawley 80), Billy Dennehy (Kinsella 82); McGrath (Corcoran 86), Fagan.

Ref - D McKeon (Dublin).

Derry seal Europa berth

Derry City 2 Bohemians 1

Derry City booked their Europa League place as their best display of the season saw off Bohemians.

Rory Patterson's 18th goal of the season was the difference between the sides, but the hosts should have won by more.

Bohs started brightly and went ahead on 18 minutes when Kurtis Byrne capitalised on a mistake by Niclas Vemmelund.

Derry, though, upped the tempo, with Patterson denied by a goal-line clearance from Derek Prendergast, Aaron McEneff crashing a pile-driver against the post and Patterson hitting the bar.

The equaliser they deserved finally came on 50 minutes from the penalty spot, McEneff making no mistake after Dean Jarvis was brought down by Derek Pender.

They got the winner 10 minutes later when Patterson poked home after a goalmouth scramble.

Right at the death Prendergast should have stolen a point for Bohs but he headed wide from close range.

Derry City - Doherty, McDermott, Vemmelund, Castells (Karner 91), Jarvis; Daniels, McEneff (McCormack 76), Ward (Holden 76), Monaghan; Patterson, Curtis.

Bohemians - Delany, Pender (O'Halloran 61), Prendergast, Hayes, Fitzgerald; Kavanagh, Buckley, Hayes, Wearen (Quigley 79), Kelly (D Byrne 61); K Byrne.

Ref - D Tomney (Dublin).

Sadlier strike puts Longford on brink

Sligo Rovers 1 Longford Town 0

Longford Town have slipped closer to the First Division following defeat to Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

Kieran Sadlier got the only goal of the game, as Longford failed to find an equaliser despite a fighting second-half display.

The home side made three changes to the team that beat Dundalk with Gavin Peers, Phil Roberts and Sadlier all returning, and it took the latter just 13 minutes to open the scoring. Tobi Adebayo-Rowling's slide-rule pass released the winger and his low shot deceived goalkeeper Ryan Coulter and crept inside the post.

They could have doubled this lead in the next ten minutes, as Roberts linked up well with top-scorer Raffaele Cretaro.

Longford pressed after the break, and Phillip Gannon forced a good low save from Ciaran Nugent, who went on to claim his fifth successive clean sheet as Rovers ground out the win.

SLIGO ROVERS - Nugent, Adebayo-Rowling, Peers, Leahy, Boylan, McCann, Roddan, Keohane, Sadlier (Kearns 67), Cretaro, Roberts.

LONGFORD TOWN - Coulter, Mulhall, Flynn, Haverty (Gorman 63), Powell, O'Connor, McGlynn, Simon (D'Sane 65), Gannon, O'Sullivan, Cowan.

REF - R Harvey.

Youths cling on in thriller

Wexford Youths 5 Galway United 4

Wexford Youths just about survived an amazing Galway comeback from 5-0 down to all but secure the relegation play-off place in a madcap game at Ferrycarrig Park.

Punishing inept defending, Youths took a 3-0 half-time lead. Aidan Keenan held off Kilian Cantwell to turn and fire home; sub Danny Furlong pounced on Kevin Devaney's back-pass, and Conor Whittle accepted a gift from Stephen Walsh.

On the resumption, Andrew O'Connor slotted in Lee Chin's knockdown, and Furlong made Walsh pay for another gaffe.

Devaney began the Galway revival on 61 minutes with a cracking shot. Seven minutes later Youths defender Aidan Friel turned a Gary Shanahan cross into his own goal.

Devaney got his second from Vinny Faherty's assist, and sub Conor Melody cut the gap to the minumum on 74 minutes, but Youths held out for victory.

Wexford Youths - Doyle; Friel, Grace, Kenny (Higgins 69), McCabe; Whittle (Dempsey 81), Chin, Bonner, O'Connor; Murphy, Keenan (Furlong 27).

Galway United - K. Horgan; C Horgan, Cantwell, Walsh (Folan 55), Ludden; Shanahan, Sinnott, Byrne, Devaney; Curran (Melody, 45+4), Faherty (Cunningham 79).

Ref - G Kelly (Cork)

Irish Independent

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