Derry City 1 Cork City 1: Derry City and Cork must meet again at Turner’s Cross on Monday night following this thriller at a rain-lashed Brandywell last night.
And given the balance of play, a draw was probably a fair result, Derry scoring four minutes into the first half, with Cork levelling matters four minutes into the second period.
However, while Cork will fancy their chances with home advantage, they would be well advised to take the Derry challenge seriously given last night’s display.
Indeed, the Candystripes started well when grabbing a vital early breakthrough following a setpiece situation.
Patrick McEleney floated a corner into the danger area and Derry City’s Ryan McBride played a captain’s role when rising majestically to powerfully plant a downward header into the net.
Derry could so easily have doubled their lead in the 19th minute following another corner kick as they forced Cork onto the back foot.
Again McEleney supplied the ammunition and when Cork keeper, Mark McNulty dived out to punch the ball clear, Derry winger Stephen Dooley drilled a low shot wide of the target.
Cork, however, eventually got to grips with the affair and with Billy Dennehy causing problems on the left, brother Darren looped an early chance over the crossbar following a move straight from the training ground.
McEleney then forced McNulty to touch the ball over his crossbar before the keeper denied Derry’s talisman again with another stop following a corner.
One minute before the break Cork went close to equalising when Billy Dennehy’s low free-kick scraped the outside of the Derry upright.
However, within four minutes of the second half the Leesiders were level and it was a goal of Derry’s own making.
Full back, Dean Jarvis, failed to adequately clear his lines as Cork broke forward and Karl Sheppard raced in on goal only to be denied by a superb Ger Doherty save.
However, when the ball broke out to the Mark O’Sullivan, the striker picked his spot before driving it inside the post to level matters.
The equaliser clearly gave Cork a lift and they could have moved into the driving seat in the 58th minute when a diving header from Sheppard narrowly missed the target.from close range.
Barry McNamee could have giving the home lot a lift before the hour but he failed to make contract with Dooley’s teasing centre and the chance was lost.
Cork keeper pulled off off a superb save to deny McEleney in the 70th minute, McNulty parrying the effort before successfully gathering the ball as the home side began to press.
McEleney sent Timlin racing forward in the 79th minute but his teasing cross failed to get the vital touch.
Mark O’Sullivan went close for Cork four minutes from the end while McNulty parried yet another McEleney effort in the 87th minute, the ‘man of the match’ having put in a excellent display for the home lot on the right flank.
Doherty; McLaughlin, McBride, Barry, Jarvis; Dooley (80), Cornwall, McNamee, McEleney; Timlin, Quigley (Morrison, 64).
McNulty; McSweeney, D. Dennedy, Bennett, Gaynor; Murray (Dunleavy, 76), Buckley; Sheppard, Miller, B. Dennehy; O’Sullivan.
P. McLaughlin (Monaghan).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved