McCarthy punctures Bohs rise in boost for interim Cork boss Cotter
Bohemians 0 Cork City 1
Elation was replaced by frustration for Bohemians as they witnessed first hand the effect that a new manager can have on a club.
Cork City played for the first time in four-and-a-half years without the guidance of John Caulfield from the dugout and his interim replacement John Cotter, who had worked as Caulfield's No 2, was able to mastermind a 1-0 win away here, defender Conor McCarthy with the only goal of the game, as Cork remain the only side to have beaten Bohs this season, something they have now done twice.
Bohs boss Keith Long had warned his young side before this game that they would have lows as well as highs this season, and last night was a low, the Gypsies losing their unbeaten run, and run of clean sheets, a missed opportunity for them - and Dundalk - in terms of closing the gap on leaders Shamrock Rovers.
Cotter's side deserve credit for turning around their own recent form which was of the relegation variety to get their first win in nine with a committed display, but Bohs will wonder what happened to the spark which made them title contenders, pressure and possession unable to bring about a goal.
Recent weeks had been a struggle for Cork, causing the exit of manager Caulfield after a successful spell in charge, so interim boss Cotter was up against it up in Dublin. An added problem for City before a ball was kicked came when left-back Shane Griffin suffered an injury in the warm-up and had to be replaced.
And City had enough about them to come up with the first real chance of the game, James Tilley sending in a cross which was met by the head of Darragh Rainsford, but the effort was wide.
Bohs had a revival, of sorts, as central midfielder Daniel Mandroiu managed to get more of the ball and try to have an impact on the game, though the Cork back four were well protected by Conor McCormack. City almost played a part in their own downfall on 18 minutes as Seán McLoughlin mistimed an attempt to clear a cross by Danny Grant, and Dan Casey had to clear.
Keith Long's side had plenty of the ball but were just lacking the spark and finesse which had earned them those wins and they found themselves 1-0 down after 22 minutes, Tilley with a free-kick from the right and Conor McCarthy with the header which beat James Talbot, only the fifth goal let in by the ex-Sunderland man this season and only the second time that Bohs have conceded at home.
The goal came against the run of play but Bohs, for all their possession, were unable to carve out the chances needed to trouble Mark McNulty, a goalkeeper who - unlike his counterpart Talbot - had largely forgotten what a clean sheet was, having just one of those in his previous eight games.
Tilley threatened again and it took Bohs until the hour mark, and a storming run by wide man Grant, to spark into life.
A minute later Grant came up with another moment of danger, a cross which was met with a header by Devaney, but it was not enough to trouble McNulty in the City goal, while Mandriou tried to nick a goal with two long-range efforts in the last 15 minutes but was unable to pose enough of a threat, even four minutes of added time was not enough to find a way past McNulty.
BOHemians - Talbot; Pender, Finnerty, Barker, Leahy; Buckley, Levingston; Grant, Mandroiu, Devaney; Corcoran.
CORK city - McNulty; McCarthy, Casey, McLoughlin, Comerford; McCormack; Tilley, Morrissey (Phillips 44), K O'Connor, Sheppard; Rainsford (Cummins 58).
REF - D MacGraith