Two early goals by the brothers Dennehy – who would later go on to add one more each — followed by the sending off of Limerick’s Shane Duggan combined to open the floodgates at Turner’s Cross last night as rampant Cork City eventually put five past hapless Limerick in an almost embarrassingly one-sided Munster derby.
After the get out of jail act which had yielded a valuable away point in Sligo on the opening day, John Caulfield rang the changes for City’s first home game of the league campaign.
At the back, long-serving Dan Murray was dropped, with Alan Bennett partnering Darren Dennehy at the heart of the defence while, upfront, fit again Danny Morrissey made his first start since the last game of the 2013 season, meaning last season’s surprise goal package Mark O’ Sullivan had to be content with a place on the bench.
And back from suspension too came Billy Dennehy to provide the home side with some natural width.
in front of a bumper crowd of 4,817, there was a palpable expectation that the home side would be on the front foot right from the first whistle.
And, just four minutes had elapsed before Colin Healy’s deep corner was headed back into the six-yard box by Gary Buckley and there was Darren Dennehy to force the ball home from close range.
Deployed in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the lively Karl Sheppard as the spearhead, City could and perhaps should have been two up inside ten minutes, Danny Morrissey blasting over. Then, in the 17th minute, Cork did extend their lead.
Buckley’s superb first-time pass put in Sheppard, and when he was brought down in the box by Limerick ‘keeper Conor O’ Donnell, it was the turn of Billy Dennehy to register a brotherly one-two on the scoreboard by converting from the spot.
Liam Miller had a great chance to make it three after more terrific work by Sheppard but, shot high over the bar.
After Gavin Holohan had just replaced the injured Buckley for Cork on the half-hour, things suddenly got much worse for Limerick in the 32nd minute when Shane Duggan was shown a straight red for a hefty challenge on Danny Morrissey.
Back on his feet, the striker saw his beautiful dink for what he thought was Cork’s third goal ruled out for offside but, right on the stroke of half-time, Holohan unleashed a rocket from fully 25 yards to give City a 3-0 lead at the break.
Straight from the restart, Billy Dennehy muscled sub Val Feeney off the ball before guiding a low shot past O’Donnell for his second goal and City’s fourth.
Sheppard twice came close to claiming the goal his all-action, man of the match performance deserved before, with six minutes remaining, Billy Dennehy’s inswinging cross was met at the far post by brother Darren to complete Limerick’s night of woes by claiming City’s fifth.
McNulty, Dunleavy, Bennett, D Dennehy, Gaynor, Buckley (Holohan 30), Miller, Healy (Kavanagh 75), B Dennehy, Sheppard, Morrissey (Kearney 64)
O’ Donnell, Harding, Williams, Price, O’Connor, O’ Conor, Duggan, Rainsford, Turner, Clarke (Hanlon 57), Faherty (Feeney 35)
Tomas Connolly (Dublin)