Sunday 19 November 2017

Karl Sheppard brilliance ensures record start for classy Cork

Bohemians 0 Cork City 2

Garry Buckley, left, of Cork City celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Garry Buckley, left, of Cork City celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It took a moment of absolute brilliance from Karl Sheppard to set them on their way but it was enough as Cork City maintained their 100pc start to the season and set a new modern-day Premier Division record by racking up nine consecutive victories.

Cork were far from their best but Bohs, having kept Sean Maguire under wraps, switched off five minutes before the break, and paid the price.

Bohs failed to clear a corner and Sheppard who had cleverly peeled off to the edge of the box, cracked home a stunning volley off the post.

Sheppard watched the ball drop from the Dalymount night sky and with one measured swing of his right boot sent the travelling supporters behind the goal into raptures.

Garry Buckley’s 87th-minute goal sealed the win and it was one that was made all the sweeter by events in Oriel Park. Dundalk’s defeat to Bray means that Cork opened up a nine-point lead on the defending champions that will have John Caulfield believing that his side can finally end their 12-year wait for a title.

Bohs were comfortable for the majority of the first half, with Fuad Sule breaking up play, but they lack a cutting edge up front. Still, Georgie Poynton should have pulled the hosts level 10 minutes after the restart when he was played through one-on-one but Mark McNulty saved well.

Bohemians goalkeeper Shane Supple is beaten by the goal effort from Karl Sheppard
Bohemians goalkeeper Shane Supple is beaten by the goal effort from Karl Sheppard

It summed up Bohs’ frustrations but they had started the game better than Cork. Oscar Brennan sent a fourth-minute shot over before McNulty had to be alert to tip his stinging drive over the bar.

Ten minutes before the break, Shane Supple rushed off his line and bundled Sheppard over. It looked like a certain penalty but referee Ben Connolly waved play away.

In Dundalk, Stephen Kenny would have had a wry smile on his face but there didn’t look anything ‘manufactured’ about this penalty shout.

That brought a poor first half to life and a minute later, Bohs had a claim of their own when Poynton went down under Conor McCormack’s challenge outside the area.

Kaleem Simon was quickest to react to the rebound but a combination of Alan Bennett and Ryan Delaney saw the Bohs player go over in the box. Again, the ref wasn’t interested.

The Bohs fans were raging, and four minutes later, the Cork supporters were on the feet celebrating one of the goals of the season.

Dalymount Park has seen some special goals over the years, not least two weeks ago when Conan Byrne scored from the halfway line, but Sheppard’s strike was just as good.

Poynton should have equalised as Cork were hanging on but Buckley made sure of the three points when he finished Maguire’s cross.

It might not have been pretty but Cork got the job done, largely thanks to an opening goal that will live long in the memory.

Bohemians – Supple; Pender (capt), Cornwall, Byrne, Fitzgerald; Sule (Morris 75); Brennan, Ward (Hamilton 64), Kavanagh, Poynton (Nolan 85), Simon.

Cork City – McNulty; Keohane (Beattie 52), Bennett (capt), Delaney, O’Connor; McCormack, Morrissey; Dooley (Griffin 80), Sheppard, Buckley (Bolger 88); Maguire.

Ref – B Connolly (Dublin)

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