Alec Byrne’s second-half header saw Cork City register their first points of the season after a hard-earned 1-0 victory over an unlucky Finn Harps in Friday night’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game at Turner's Cross.
Having shipped 10 goals and failing to score in their first three league games, it was imperative Neale Fenn’s side got something from last night’s game against perennial strugglers Harps. And after an impressive second-half performance, Fenn will be hoping Byrne’s winner will give his new-look side confidence after their poor start to the season.
Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps look a much stronger outfit on paper this season, and his side went into the game with a win and a draw from their first two games. The Donegal side started the brighter of the two in the sodden conditions and Ruairi Harkin had Liam Bossin scrambling early on when he tried his luck from long range, but the former Derry City man’s curling effort flew inches wide.
The home side were struggling to keep hold of the ball early on, but Dylan McGlade had a great chance in the 13th minute following a superb run by Daire O’Connor, but the City striker shot tamely wide from 12 yards.
Horgan’s side were well on top in the opening half and Bossin had to come to his side’s rescue in the 27th minute when he saved well with his legs from Karl O’Sullivan.
The first half ended in controversy when Bossin couldn’t hold Harkin’s long-range effort, and as the City ‘keeper scrambled to gather the ball, new signing Alex Kogler skidded in and collided with the City ‘keeper before bundling the ball over the line.
It did look like a foul, but referee Neil Doyle gave the goal much to the disbelief of the City bench. Then, with Bossin receiving lengthy treatment after the collision, Doyle eventually went and consulted with his assistant before disallowing the goal. Cue mayhem on the Finn Harps bench and the players surrounding referee Doyle demanding he change his decision again. Bossin had to be substituted after the collision, with Mark McNulty taking his place.
The exciting Dalling, on-loan from QPR, went close twice just after the break as Fenn’s side started the half with a lot more energy and were rewarded with the opener in the 55th minute, when Alec Byrne headed home McGlade’s corner kick.
Ryan Connolly then set up Kogler midway through the second half, only for Ronan Hurley to come to his side’s rescue as he cleared off the line before City counter-attacked and Dalling had McGinley beaten but his shot got stuck in the mud in the goalmouth.
Webster smashed an effort narrowly wide late on as Harps looked for an equaliser, but it was City who held on for the much needed three points.
CORK CITY: Bossin (McNulty 45); Stabana (Fleming 45), Olowu, Redmond, Hurley; Ochieng, Morrissey, Byrne; O'Connor, Dalling, McGlade (Murphy 88).
FINN HARPS: McGinley; McEleney, Sadiki, Todd, Russell; Webster, R Harkin (Delap 90), B McNamee, Connolly; O’Sullivan (Saul 73), Kogler (Cretaro 73).
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).