Airtricity Premier Division
Cork City 2 Dundalk 2
A Stephen O’Donnell goal two minutes from time saw Dundalk claim a dramatic late point at Turner’s Cross last night to move to within three points of leaders St Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division.
In an excellent game played in front of the live Setanta Sports cameras, the home side looked like claiming all three points when Daryl Kavanagh slotted home a second half penalty but not for the first time this season, the Turner’s Cross faithful went home dejected after another late goal cost them victory.
City went into the game looking for their third home win on the spin and boss Tommy Dunne made three changes from the side that went down to Shelbourne at Tolka Park last week.
Ian Turner and John Kavanagh were dropped to the bench and Shane Duggan missed out through suspension. They were replaced by the returning Danny Murphy, Dan Murray and Gearoid Morrissey.
Dundalk had a facile 3-0 home victory over Bohemians last week and Stephen Kenny was forced into making two changes to that side as Richie Towell and Andy Boyle were suspended and Stephen McDonnell and Brian Gartland came into the team.
In a frenetic opening to the game, Dunne’s side made the ideal start with a fantastic goal from Ciaran Kilduff inside three minutes. Kavanagh took a quick free-kick on the right and Neal Horgan’s cross from the byline was acrobatically volleyed into the top corner of Peter Cherrie’s net from 12 yards by the on-loan Shamrock Rovers man.
Dundalk went into the game with the best away record in the league and were close to an equaliser two minutes later when Patrick Hoban, who scored a hat-trick last week, fired inches wide from inside the box.
City were unlucky not to be 2-0 up two minutes later when Daryl Horgan cut inside from the left and fired in a right-footed shot that had Cherrie beaten but came back off the butt of the Dundalk ‘keeper’s right hand post. Horgan was then denied by the woodwork again when his mishit cross came back off the crossbar with Cherrie scrambling.
Dundalk slowly began to come more into the game and were causing the home side all sorts of problems from set-pieces and corner kicks. And it was another free-kick from Darren Meenan that led to the equaliser midway through the half. Meenan flighted a ball into the box from the left hand side and Brian Gartland rose highest to head home from six yards.
Gartland thought he had his second 10 minutes before the break when he tucked home Meenan’s corner kick at the back post but the goal was ruled out for a foul on ‘keeper Mark McNulty.
Morrissey was carelessly dispossessed seven minutes after the break by the busy Francis McCaffrey but McNulty came to his side’s rescue as he saved McCaffrey’s effort with his legs.
Garry Buckley was then denied by Cherrie before the home side went back in front when Daryl Horgan was brought down in the box by John Sullivan and Kavanagh tucked his spot kick home.
Kavanagh nearly made it three 12 minutes from time but Cherrie made a magnificent stop to tip the City number nine’s piledriver from 25 yards over the bar.
Meenan wasn’t too far off an equaliser when his snap shot flew narrowly wide before City old boy O’Donnell pounced to bundle the ball home at the second attempt.
CORK CITY: McNulty; N Horgan, D Murray, Spillane, D Murphy; D Kavanagh (Turner 90), Buckley, Dunleavy, G Morrissey, D Horgan; Kilduff.
DUNDALK: Cherrie; Sullivan, Gartland, Rossiter, Massey (Shields 45); Meenan, O’Donnell, McDonnell (Kelly 59), Byrne; McCaffrey (Keegan 64), Hoban.
Referee: R Rogers (Dublin).
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