By Noel Spillane
Cork City 1 Bray Wanderers 0
For the first time in 12 years, Cork City finally got their hands on the SSE Airtricity League trophy at the end of tonight’s final home game of the season and a 1-0 win over Bray Wanderes at a sold out Turner’s Cross.
The champions and double chasing Cork received the trophy in an after match pitch presentation after the final whistle to a rapturous standing ovation as they did a lap of honour around the famous Curragh Road venue.
Acting skipper Alan Bennett and club captain Johnny Dunleavy lifted the glistening trophy in unison to a rousing reception.
Cork’s next big date is the FAI Cup final against Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium on tomorrow week, November 5 with both clubs chasing an elusive double.
The cup holders Cork are actually chasing a quadruple of Munster Senior Cup, President’s Cup, league championship and the retention of the Blue Riband trophy won in dramatic fashion last year with Seanie Maguire’s extra-time winner. Dundalk already have the EA Sports Cup in the bag.
Cork made five changes with Mark McNulty, Alan Bennett, Conor McCormack, Stephen Dooley and Connor Ellis all starting to the exclusion of suspended duo Greg Bolger and Ryan Delaney with Alan Smith, Sean McLoughlin and Achille Campion on the bench,
Cork forced four early corners but Hugh Douglas got in a vital block to deny Karl Sheppard an early goal.
It quickly developed into a one-sided contest with Cork dominating possession and pinning the opposition right back over the 90 minutes.
Conor McCormack broke the deadlock on 22 minutes with a neat right-footed finish on the end of Kieran Sadller’s cross and then the over-worked Bray keeper saved well from Stephen Dooley and Sadlier.
McCormack’s goal was the first by a Cork player from open play since Garry Buckley’s goal in the 2-1 home win over Galway United on July 28.
On the resumption, McNulty saved twice from Aaron Greene and Jason Marks got in a great tackle to deny Connor Ellis in the box and Cherrie made a superb one-handed stop to claw away Sadlier’s drive with 20 minutes to go.
Cork City (4-2-3-1) - McNulty 7; McCarthy 6, Bennett (capt) 7, Williams 6, Griffin 6; McCormack 7, Keohane 6; Sheppard 6, Sadlier 8, Dooley 6; Ellis 6 (Buckley 65).
Subs. Campion, Beattie, Morrissey, McLoughlin & Smith (not used)
Bray Wanderers (4-2-3-1) - Cherrie 9; Rogers 6 (Rossiter 86), Douglas 7, Foran 6, Moore 6; Sullivan 7, Salmon 6 (Pender 68); Marks 7, McCabe 6 (Ellis 79), Noone 6; Greene 7.
Subs. Heffernan, Flood, Clucas & Steacy (not used)
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)
Official attendance: 5,768.