Karl Sheppard sublime as Cork blow Derry away

Cork City turned in their best performance of the season to make it a Great Friday for their fans at Turner’s Cross last night as they blew Derry City away to move to within a point off leaders Dundalk at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Karl Sheppard sublime as Cork blow Derry away

Karl Sheppard helped himself to a brace and John O’Flynn got off the mark for the season as John Caulfield’s side were simply too hot for Derry to handle in front of another bumper crowd of more than 5,000.

City were still without Colin Healy, who also missed out on last Saturday’s win in Bray with a slight hamstring strain, and Caulfield made one change to that side, with Garry Buckley returning from injury and he started in place of Dan Murray.

Derry boss Peter Hutton was forced into making one change to the side that easily saw off Drogheda United 3-0 at the Brandywell last time out with Josh Daniels missing out through injury and he was replaced by Seanan Clucas.

Cork were guilty of lacking urgency in their last home game against Galway but they started this one in much brighter fashion and the slick passing and pace of their attacks had Derry in trouble from the off.

The home side nearly got off to the ideal start in the fifth minute when Darren Dennehy knocked his brother Billy’s flighted free-kick back across the face of goal but Derry captain Ryan McBride just got in front of the inrushing Alan Bennett to put the ball out for corner.

Cork deservedly went in front in the 16th minute when Ross Gaynor nutmegged Shaun Kelly on the edge of the box before squaring for the unmarked O’Flynn to tap home his first goal of the season from six yards.

It was all Cork and on the half hour keeper Gerard Doherty had to pull off a tremendous stop to claw away Liam Miller’s rasping shot from 25 yards, which was destined for the top corner before the Derry number one tipped over John Dunleavy’s curling effort a minute later.

The pressure eventually did tell a minute before the break as Cork doubled their advantage when Darren Dennehy’s header from Billy Dennehy’s corner was forced home at the back post by Sheppard.

O’Flynn was unlucky not to claim his second of the night shortly after the break when he got on the end of Billy Dennehy’s lovely pass but the striker’s effort from a narrow angle drifted narrowly wide of Doherty’s post.

Derry were a little better in the second half with the skilful Patrick McEleney showing glimpses of the skill he possesses which had Celtic interested in his signature, but they had to wait until the 57th minute for their first shot on goal when Philip Lowry’s drilled effort from 25 yards was comfortably held by Mark McNulty.

Sheppard wrapped up the game in the 69th minute with a tremendous goal which started when Dunleavy was quickest to the ball inside his own half and he fed Buckley down the right side.

Buckley did well to power into the box and he picked out Sheppard, who still had a lot to do but he made the finish look easy as he sidefooted home from 12 yards.

Patrick McEleney almost scored an outrageous consolation goal in injur- time but his superb long range effort came back off the post with McNulty beaten all ends up.

CORK CITY:

McNulty, Kavanagh, Bennett, D Dennehy, Gaynor, B Dennehy (Djilali 74), Buckley (Holohan 88), Dunleavy, Miller, Sheppard, O’Flynn (Morrissey 83).

DERRY CITY:

Doherty, Kelly, McBride, S McEleney, Barry, P McEleney, Lowry, Clucas (Morrisson 69), Timlin (Houston 80), McNamee, Elding (Curran 80).

Referee:

Robert Harvey (Dublin).

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