Behan header sends City through

Cork City 2 Dungannon Swifts 1

First half goals from Colin O’Brien and Denis Behan laid the foundations for City’s third win of the competition, but they’ll have to settle for second place behind St Pat’s, which in turn means an away semi-final for Damien Richardson’s side against the winners of group one on April 30th.

On a perfect evening for football, this televised clash was watched by a dismal attendance of just 700, but it offered City manager Damien Richardson an ideal opportunity to cast his eye over some of the squad’s peripheral players. The likes of Cathal Lordan and Mallow native Brendan Daly did not disappoint. Lordan’s industry, uncanny knack to create space in apparently claustrophobic situations, and ability to transform from central midfield general to right wing magician augers well for the future, for it seems City have to plan without the ‘FIFA 2’ — Gareth Farrelly and Colin Healy — for the foreseeable future.

Cork poured forward from the first whistle and, from a fourth minute corner delivered by Ray Lally, Colin O’Brien rose to head firmly past David Wells.

Then Swifts’ hard working midfielder, Shane McCabe, got forward in a rare attack, but his shot was dealt with comfortably by City’s stand-in goalkeeper Mark McNulty.

The Behan and O’Flynn double act continued to create the openings and two quick attempts from either striker were well saved by Wells.

In the 23rd minute Behan ran onto a Billy Woods clearance and showing commendable composure unleashed a powerful drive that rebounded off the crossbar.

But Behan’s enterprise was rewarded in the 35th minute, but only after superb football by City. A Dan Murray ball down the right was taken on by Cathal Lordan and the latter’s inch-perfect cross was headed gloriously by Behan to the top corner.

Cork remained in control until the break, but an altogether more determined Dungannon side emerged after half time. Inspired by McCabe, the Swifts engaged in a more purposeful and positive football with McCabe involved in a good movement that ended with a Rodney McAree shot saved by McNulty.

The Swifts’ more upbeat second half showing was rewarded with a 64th minute goal, McCabe drilling home a 20 yard free kick that took a deflection on its way to the bottom corner.

Roy O’Donovan almost made a dramatic entrance when getting on the end of a Billy Wood’s cross but his header was stopped brilliantly by Wells.

The Swifts custodian saw red in the 82nd minute when he was adjudged to have handled the ball outside his box. Then Roy O’Donovan received a yellow card, his second of the competition and will miss the semi-final, which is expected to be an away tie against Linfield.

CORK CITY (4-4-2): M McNulty; Cillian Lordan (D Murphy 88), B O’Callaghan, D Murray, B Woods; B Daly (R O’Donovan 62), C O’Brien, Cathal Lordan, R Lally; J O’Flynn & D Behan (Caulfield 85).

DUNGANNON SWIFTS (4-5-1): D Wells, M McConkey, G Fitzpatrick, JP Gallagher (D Nelson 83); R Hamill, R McAree (D McManus 62), S McCabe, T Fitzpatrick, E Luiz (P Barron ht) ; M McAllister.

Ref: D Hanney (Dublin)

UCD defeated Kildare County 4 — 2 on penalties in the first round of the Eircom League Cup.

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