Cork City 1 - Limerick 0
Garry Buckley's early goal proved to be the platform to sweep the holders, Cork City into the Irish Daily Mail sponsored FAI Cup final for the third year in a row as they knocked out brave Limerick in this nail-biting semi-final at Turner’s Cross tonight, writes Noel Spillane.
The double is still very much on for John Caulfield’s charges who hope to wrap up a first league championship in 12 years away to Bohemians on Friday, October 13.
Cork's swagger is back as they chase a first ever league and Cup double and after tonight’s Munster derby victory the odds have shortened on the Leesiders.
Kieran Sadlier who had scored in every round so far against Bray Wanderers, Athlone Town and Longford Town was restored to the starting eleven with Conor McCarthy in at right-back for Steven Beattie and up against the pacey Chiedozie Ogbene.
Jimmy Keohane was back on the bench with Greg Bolger who is reported to have signed for promoted Waterford next season.
Limerick made one change with Dean Clarke coming in at right-back for Barry Cotter who was on the substitutes’ bench.
Buckley’s lead goal on 14 minutes came from Conor McCarthy’s ball down the line to Sadlier and he crossed to the far post for Buckley to bundle the ball home.
Before the breakthrough goal, City went close through Buckley twice, Karl Sheppard and Ryan Delaney but they had to withstand some pressure to maintain their lead to half-time.
Limerick finished the half the stronger and Mark McNulty had to thwart Rodrigo Tosi and Stephen Kenny before producing his best save of the night to deny Chiedozie Ogbene’s right-footed effort in 44 minutes.
Tosi headed just over from Bastien Hery’s cross on the restart before Jimmy Keohane came on for Dooley on 53 minutes and then skipper Shane Duggan, one of three ex-Cork City players in the Limerick ranks, was close to an equaliser but just failed connect with Lee J Lynch’s ball into the box.
Steven Beattie had to scramble another Hery header off the line as the game ended in a welter of excitement.
City's next league action is away to Bohemians on October 13 where a win will seal the deal in the championship, but if that ends in a draw, then they have a home game with Derry City on Monday night, October 16 to kick-off their league party on home soil.
Cork City (4-2-3-1) - McNulty; McCarthy, Bennett (capt), Delaney, Griffin; McCormack, Morrissey; Sadlier, Buckley, Dooley; Sheppard.
Subs. Keohane for Dooley (53 mins), Beattie for Sadlier (79 mins), Campion for Sheppard (90 mins), Bolger, Ellis, Williams & Smith (not used)
Limerick (4-1-4-1) - B. Clarke; Clarke, Whitehead. O'Connor, Tracy; Hery; Kenny, Duggan (capt), Lynch, Ogbene; Tosi.
Subs. Berki for Kenny (70 mins), O'Flynn for Lynch (84 mins), Crowe, Brouder, Cotter, Cameron & Hall (not used)
Referee: Ray Matthews (Westmeath)
Official attendance: 3,563.