A hat-trick from Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, coupled with a shambolic defensive display, saw Cork City’s season plunge to new depths at Turner’s Cross last night as Derry City ran riot to inflict another painful defeat in what is turning out to be a shocking season for last season’s runners-up.
Following the mid-season break, only the players will know if the up-coming Europa League clash with either Progres Niederkom or Cardiff Metropolitan University, with the winners facing Rangers, was a distraction. But that lucrative Europa League tie against Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, looks a million miles off judging by this display.
Full credit to Derry though, who certainly didn’t come to defend, and Declan Devine’s side were superior all over the pitch once David Parkhouse put them in front early on and they could easily have won by even more.
With two games postponed due to the Toulon Tournament in France, this was Cork’s first match at Turner’s Cross in six weeks, when they went down to Vinny Perth’s Dundalk side. With such a break, you would expect to see a big crowd at the Curragh Road venue but an attendance of 2,302 won’t swell the coffers by too much.
Devine has been critical about the way the fixtures have worked out for his side, and you can see his point with his side facing a trip to Dalymount on Monday night, 48 hours after returning from a marathon journey to Cork.
John Cotter was still without the injured Karl Sheppard and Shane Griffin, but his side started the game on the front-foot and Garry Buckley had a half-chance early on, but he couldn’t return Peter Cherrie’s poor clearance on the volley to the empty net.
Derry have a good record on the road this season and they hit the front in the 11th minute following some slack defending from the home side. Ogedi-Uzokwe was allowed control Ciaran Coll’s throw-in on his chest on the edge of the six-yard box before his cross-cum-shot fell to Parkhouse who side-footed home, despite Mark McNulty getting both hands to the ball.
The home side almost hit back straight away but Cherrie made a good stop with his feet to deny Conor McCarthy and Graham Cummins could only turn the rebound wide.
Cummins has been heavily linked with a move to Shamrock Rovers and this may have been his last game in a City shirt; a move that will deplete Cotter’s attacking options even more with his side struggling in front of goal all season.
Former Cork ‘keeper Cherrie then made a good stop to deny Gearóid Morrissey, before the visitors made it 2-0 in the 27th minute. Again, the home defence were caught flat-footed and when Barry McNamee and Gregg Sloggett combined for Sloggett to cross, Ogedi-Uzokwe was quickest to get in front of his marker to volley home from six yards.
Things went from bad to worse for Cotter’s side two minutes later when referee Rob Hennessy adjudged that Conor McCormack had handled when jumping in the wall to block Gerardo Bruna’s free-kick. Ogedi-Uzokwe’s penalty was saved by McNulty but the same player was first to the rebound and side-footed home his second and Derry’s third goal of a crazy first-half.
Cork were all over the place at the back and Parkhouse missed two guilt-edged opportunities before half-time as the home side looked like conceding every time Derry attacked. The home side were reduced to 10 men shortly after the restart when Hennessy dismissed Daire O’Connor after the former UCD man received a second yellow for diving, which looked harsh.
Ogedi-Uzokwe claimed the match ball in the 66th minute and again it was all too easy when he stole in at the back post unmarked to head home Jamie McDonagh’s cross. Cummins did manage to score what could be his last goal for the club, with a header two minutes from time, to at least give the home support something to cheer.
McNulty, McCarthy, McLoughlin, Casey, K O’Connor, Tilley (Hurley 56), McCormack, Morrissey (Rainsford 45), Buckley (Comerford 90), D O’Connor, Cummins.
Cherrie, McDonagh, Toal, Gilchrist, Coll, Harkin, Sloggett, Bruna (Malone 71), Ogedi-Uzokwe (Stokes 71), B McNamee (S McNamee 79), Parkhouse.
R Hennessey (Clare).