Cork City set up ‘dream’ FAI Cup final

Bray Wanderers 0 Cork City 1: Cork City claimed their place in the ‘dream’ FAI Cup final against Dundalk thanks to a goal from Danny Morrissey, who paid an immediate price for his match-winning heroics.

Cork City set up ‘dream’ FAI Cup final

After the game, the 21-year-old striker revealed that he’d been in physical difficulty just before netting the decisive goal.

“I signalled to the bench about five minutes before that I was struggling with my hamstring as there was a bit of cramp but to give me a few minutes,” he said. “And once I hit it, my leg just seized up and it cramped everywhere and that was it for me. I couldn’t celebrate, as my calf had cramped up and I was in bits, no chance.”

Paying tribute to his match-winner, Cork City manager John Caulfield said: “To be fair to Danny, we know his potential. Three years ago he got 10 or 12 goals but, unfortunately, he has been constantly injured since. This last month we felt he was doing well in training and with Mark (O’Sullivan) and Flynny (John O’Flynn) struggling, we just thought Danny might cause a few problems. I’m delighted for him: it was a typical Danny Morrissey goal, running in behind and finishing.”

But Cork were also in debt at the Carlisle Grounds to goalkeeper Mark McNulty, who pulled off a terrific late save to keep his team on course for a date at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, November 8.

“Yeah, he made a great save and it was great because we didn’t want a replay,” said Caulfield. “It’s great to be in the final. We’ve never played in the new Aviva and I suppose it’s the final everyone wants.

“People think of the league decider last year and it looks like it could be a phenomenal crowd that day. Dundalk are a fantastic team, a phenomenal team, they’ve pushed the bar higher this year and have a great manager. At the same time, we’re probably the one team they may not want in a final. From that point of view, it should be a great occasion.”

Dominating possession in the first half yesterday but lacking penetration with the final ball, City came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the half-hour mark but, after Ross Gaynor had been thwarted at the far post, when the ball broke to Karl Sheppard on the edge of a crowded six-yard box, he could do no more than scoop his effort over the bar. Shortly after, Danny Morrissey did have the ball in the Bray net but an offside flag against Sheppard, who provided the assist, correctly ruled out the goal.

Roy Keane and Ireland goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh were among an attendance of 2,175 which hoped for rather more excitement in the second half.

It still took until the 58th minute for either keeper to be worked, Peter Cherrie reacting well to a Garry Buckley effort to turn the ball over the bar but right on the hour mark, the keeper was beaten by a brave Danny Morrissey who — running on to a Garry Buckley flick on — put his body on the line in getting the better of the keeper near the edge of the penalty area to angle the ball home. That was Morrissey’s last act of the game, the scorer forced off to be replaced by John O’Flynn, even as the travelling Rebel Army continued to celebrate the breakthrough.

With City now dominant and pressing for the insurance goal, Cherrie had to produce a magnificent tip over save to deny an O’Flynn header. Against the run of play, Graham Kelly did come close for Bray with a rocket which whistled past McNulty’s post in the 78th minute and two minutes from the end, Cork were hugely indebted to their keeper when he made a brilliant point-blank save to keep out Emeka Omwubiko’s full-blooded volley before, as Bray mounted a late rally, the lively substitute had another effort which flew narrowly wide.

But a City side, with Dan Murray outstanding in front of the back four, held firm and deservedly progressed to their first FAI Cup final in eight years.

BRAY WANDERERS:

Cherrie, Douglas, McNally, Cooney, Barker, Kelly, Fitzpatrick (Scully 76), Hanlon (Omwubiko 80), McEvoy, Wixted (McGlynn 66), Lyons.

CORK CITY:

McNulty, Dunleavy, Bennett, D Deenehy, Gaynor, Murray, Miller Holohan 82), Buckley, B Dennehy (O’Connor 76), Sheppard, Morrissey (O’Flynn 60).

Referee:

Neil Doyle (Dublin).

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