Cork City 4 Drogheda United 1: A tremendous second half hat-trick from Billy Dennehy saw Cork City put an indifferent first-half performance behind them to move to within four points of leaders Dundalk at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division with a 4-1 victory over Drogheda United at Turners Cross last night.
John Caulfield’s outfit had to do it the hard way after coming from a goal down at half-time as Drogheda finished the game with nine men.
“We were disappointing in the first half. It was tough after Friday. We rejigged a small bit at half-time. Billy’s goal was crucial,” said Caulfield last night “Billy’s deadly with those free kicks and Shep got another goal.
“We’ve had five games in two weeks, which is tough. Limerick will be a tricky one and we’re glad to have the extra day’s rest.”
Caulfield made only one change to the side that defeated Sligo 3-2 at the same venue on Friday night with Billy Dennehy replacing Kieran Djilali.
The visitors started brighter and Johnny McDonnell’s men shocked the home crowd in the ninth minute. Michael Schlingermann’s kick out was misjudged by John Kavanagh and Daryl Kavanagh got in behind the Cork defence before squaring to Cathal Brady. Brady unselfishly fed Lee Duffy who swept the ball past McNulty.
The Cork defence were affording Kavanagh far too much space and three minutes later, the striker found Sean Brennan but McNulty saved well with his legs to deny the Drogheda number nine.
Gavan Holohan came close to an equaliser against his former club two minutes later but Schlingermann made a great stop to tip the midfielder’s effort around his post.
Karl Sheppard should have had City level at the break when he tried to take the ball around Schlingermann from Holohan’s pass but the keeper took the ball off the former Reading man’s toes just as he was about the slot home.
A minute later Schlingermann made a great stop to keep out Mark O’Sullivan’s shot as City ended the half in the ascendency.
Caulfield must have had a few choice words to say to his team at half-time and they were level nine minutes into the half when Alan Byrne was adjudged to have stopped Holohan’s surge forward with his hands and Dennehy stepped up to curl a superb left footed free-kick home from 25 yards.
Sheppard fired home his third goal in four days when he volleyed home Billy Dennehy’s inswinging corner 11 minutes later. Drogheda were reduced to 10 men 19 minutes from time when Shane Dunne received a straight red card for a foul on John Kavanagh, which looked worse than it was.
Byrne was then harshly awarded a second yellow when he blocked substitute Garry Buckley’s drive with his arm eight minutes from time as Drogheda finished with nine men and Dennehy stroked home the resultant spot-kick.
Dennehy completed his hat-trick in injury-time when he swept home first time from the edge of the box.
McNulty; Kavanagh, D Dennehy, Murray, O’Connor; Dennehy, Healy, Holohan, Miller (Buckley 79), Sheppard (Morrissey 69); O’Sullivan (Kearney 85).
Schlingermann; Daly, Gorman, Byrne, Marks; Duffy (Mulvenna 83), Hughes, Dunne, Brady (Walshe 64); Brennan (Thornton 37), Kavanagh.
P McLaughlin (Donegal)
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