Cork City 1 Dundalk 0
Cork City closed the gap on league champions Dundalk to a point at the top of the Premier Division when they beat the ten man Lilywhites for the third time this year at a throbbing Turner’s Cross, writes Noel Spillane.
Cork were playing in front of their biggest of the season (5,453) that beat the 4,028 for Bohemians on the opening night back in March.
The match-winning goal was scored by Stephen Dooley mid-way through the first half and Dundalk had midfield enforcer Chris Shields sent off four minutes before the break before Dooley missed a 66th minute spot kick.
City made one change with Kenny Browne back for Colin Healy while the champions made three changes after they just about beat Wexford Youths last weekend.
Paddy Barrett, Darren Meenan and Stephen O’Donnell all started for the visitors to the exclusion of Sean Gannon, John Mountney and Robbie Benson.
Cork with seven straight wins going into the tie were four points behind the back-to-back champions as the team with the best home record faced the team with best away record in the league.
Dundalk came south to play and they showed that with an early booking for club captain Stephen O’Donnell for a late tackle on Stephen Dooley.
Alan Bennett and Brian Gartland were also yellow carded as the champions began to dominate as they settled the quicker and were more of a threat.
All that counted for little when Cork grabbed the lead on 25 minutes somewhat against the run of play.
25: Goal!June 3, 2016
Dooley netted with a low left-footed drive for his third goal of the season and his third in consecutive matches.
It all stemmed from a great tackle by Gearoid Morrissey and his ball forward was flicked on by Sean Maguire.
Dooley sprinted on to it and went outside Andy Boyle before shooting low past Gary Rogers.
And Cork might have been two up in the 33rd minute but Dooley’s low cross was behind the in rushing Beattie on the far post.
The game turned even further against the champions when midfielder Chris Shields got a straight red card for a bad tackle on Beattie in front of the Derrynane Road stand and Stephen Kenny’s rattled side had to play the entire second half with ten men.
It was a bad tackle by the Dundalk midfield man and the Lilywhites also had Brian Gartland red carded on their last visit to Turner’s Cross in the President’s Cup final on February 27 for two yellow cards.
On the restart and with the home team playing into the Shed end, Greg Bolger fired just wide and Maguire was stopped in his tracks before O’Donnell was yellow carded for persistent foul play.
Alan Bennett had a header cleared by Dane Massey before Cork were awarded a spot kick on 66 minutes when Maguire was upended by Boyle in the box.
Goal hero Dooley stepped up to take the kick but fired it high over the crossbar.
Dundalk were denied a last minute goal when Maguire headed Kiduff’s header off the line from McEleney’s corner and then the ex-City loanee volleyed wide in a welter of excitement.
Elsewhere, third placed Derry City lost ground with a scoreless draw at Galway United.
FULL TIME: Galway United 0-0 Derry City.
Shamrock Rovers won 2-0 at Dublin rivals St Pat's, Finn Harps beat Sligo Rovers 3-0 and Bohemians won away to Wexford Youths 1-0.
Shamrock Rovers came away with the 3 points against St Pats this evening! pic.twitter.com/Rf2e9ODoPz— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) June 3, 2016
Bray Wanderers and Longford Town finished scoreless.
The league takes a break for the Euros, best wishes to the Boys in Green & safe travels to the LTFC fans making the trip to France! #COYBIG— Longford Town FC (@LongfordTownFC) June 3, 2016
In the First Division, Waterford United's game against Athlone Town was postponed.
So in tonight's only game, it finished UCD 2 Shelbourne 0.
Cork City (4-2-3-1) - McNulty; McSweeney, Bennett, Browne, O’Connor; Bolger (capt), G. Morrissey; Beattie (O’Sullivan 82), Holohan (Buckley 61), Dooley; Maguire (Healy 91)
Subs. D. Morrissey, Sheppard, Turner & Smith (not used)
Dundalk (4-2-3-1) - Rogers; Barrett, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Shields (capt), O’Donnell; Meenan (Benson 68), Finn, Horgan (McEleney 71); McMillan (Kilduff 49).
Subs. Mountney, Grimes, Poynton & Sava (not used)
Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin)
Official attendance: 5,453.
Man of match: Greg Bolger (Cork City)