O'Hanlon strikes to send Cork back to top
Cork City 2 Limerick 1
Cork City manager John Caulfield praised the impact of match-winner Josh O'Hanlon after the striker's first league goal put the champions back on top of the table.
With Dundalk having lost to Waterford on Friday night, City knew that the avoidance of defeat against Limerick at Turner's Cross on Saturday would be sufficient to give them sole ownership of the lead.
However, they had to work for it as Danny Morrissey's goal put the visitors ahead in the 34th minute and while Graham Cummins equalised that soon after, it wasn't until 20 minutes from time that O'Hanlon - only on the pitch a minute - scored the winner.
The former St Patrick's Athletic man has proven to be a valuable squad member already, and Caulfield envisages him playing more of a role.
"The situation was that he had missed the start of the season," he said, "he had been out for five weeks, so from a pre-season point of view, he missed all that.
"Over the last number of weeks, he has been working very hard and he has come into games and done well. It was great for him to come off the bench and score today, the more game-time he gets, it means he has pace and he's strong."
City wasted an early opportunity to take the lead as Karl Sheppard's penalty, awarded after a pull-back on Steven Beattie, was saved by Brendan Clarke.
While they had more of the ball, City found themselves behind as Morrissey netted when Billy Dennehy's free-kick broke in the area, but two minutes later Cummins headed Colm Horgan's cross home.
Limerick sub Mark O'Sullivan could have restored their lead midway through the second half but his shot rolled just wide and City made the most of that let-off when O'Hanlon got on the end of a cross by another sub, Kieran Sadlier.
They held out, but Caulfield again made the point that there are no easy games. "That's the way it is this year," he said, "the gap has got much closer. You could see that a number of weeks ago, we were a couple of points behind, we left Friday night and we were top, Monday night we were back again down to second and tonight we're back on top.
"It's that kind of league, the teams are much closer together than they have been over the last number of years and obviously when you get clubs like ourselves, who have lost players and are in transition, it does take a bit of time.
"I feel that, this year, all the way through, it's going to be that kind of league."
CORK CITY: McNulty; Horgan, Bennett, McLoughlin, Beattie (Sadlier 52); McCormack, Keohane; McNamee (O'Hanlon 69), Buckley, Sheppard; Cummins (Kane 82).
LIMERICK: Clarke; Cantwell, Whitehead, D Dennehy (Maguire half-time), B Dennehy; Wearen, Coleman; Duggan, Clifford, Fitzgerald (K O'Sullivan 35); Morrissey (M O'Sullivan 64).
Referee: T Connolly (Dublin).