Cork City 5 - Finn Harps 0: THE Cork City juggernaut shows no sign of stopping as John Caulfield’s green machine made it 12 league wins out of 12 as four second half goals saw them romp to an emphatic win over Finn Harps at Turners Cross last night.
Despite not being at their best in the first half, City upped the tempo after the break and Ollie Horgan’s side, who were in the game for long periods, wilted under the pressure once Sean Maguire grabbed his 10th league goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Caulfield made wholesale changes to the side that ended reigning champions St Pat’s involvement in this season’s EA Sports Cup last Monday as he gave a few of his fringe players a much needed run out. But he made only one change to the team that started the last league game against Bray, where Jimmy Keohane came in for Greg Bolger, who had to make do with a seat on the bench.
Finn Harps have been hit by injuries and suspensions of late and boss Ollie Horgan was down to the bare bones for this one, which was highlighted by the fact that he could only name four substitutions on the visitors’ bench.
So the omens looked stacked against the Donegal outfit from the start and after forcing a succession of corners early on, it looked like City could have a very comfortable night.
However, Harps defended well and had the first real effort on goal when Caolan McAleer flashed a shot wide of Mark McNulty’s near post.
With goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher looking suspect on crosses or corners into the box, the Harps number one flapped at another Kevin O’Connor corner midway through the first half. When the ball wasn’t properly cleared, it fell to Stephen Dooley on the edge of the box and the in-form winger danced around a couple of tackles before drilling a right footed effort low and hard into the bottom corner of Gallagher’s net.
It was almost 2-0 three minutes later when Gearoid Morrisey’s stinging shot from just inside the box was magnificently tipped over by Gallagher following a lovely back-heel from Karl Sheppard.
Harps had appeals for a penalty turned down when referee Neil Doyle adjudged that McAleer went down too easily after a coming together with Conor McCormack in the box much to the disgust of the Harps bench.
And McNulty had to be alive to push away Sean Houston’s shot soon after as Harps didn’t let the goal affect them and began to look threatening on the break.
Rather than push on after the goal, the home side were guilty of letting Harps back into the game as the half wore on and Caulfield must have let his players know at half time as they emerged for the second period with a lot more energy.
Jimmy Keohane, who was largely anonymous in the first half had a great chance early in the second but his effort flew over Gallagher’s crossbar after a nice ball from Sheppard. And the same player was denied by the legs of Gallagher again shortly afterwards as City looked for a second goal which would kill off any Harps hopes of an upset.
Sheppard controversially had a goal chalked off when he took advantage of some hesitancy in the visitors’ defence to head over the outrushing Gallagher but the assistant referee had his flag up, which infuriated the City side.
Their anger was short-lived however as that man again Maguire ran onto Ryan Delaney’s header to lob the ball over Gallagher to continue his hot streak in front of goal.
Gareth Harkin made a great clearance off the line to deny Sheppard following another surging run from Dooley as the Harps defence began to look rattled as City piled on the pressure.
Morrissey grabbed the third when he volleyed home from inside the box in the 79th minute before Ryan Delaney headed home the fourth soon after as Harps collapsed.
Maguire was then brought down in the box three minutes from time and he dusted himself down before slotting home his second and City’s fifth from the spot to send the home support home in high spirits yet again.
McNulty; Beattie, Dunleavy, Delaney, O’Connor; Sheppard, McCormack (Bolger 71), Morrissey, Keohane (Ellis 64), Dooley; Maguire.
Gallagher; McNulty, Cantwell, Coll, Harkin; McAleer, Boyle, McCourt (Doherty 88), Houston, Funston; O’Connor (McGlynn 81).
N Doyle (Dublin)
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