Dundalk 3 Cork City 0
CORK City remain in search of their first points of the SSE Airtricity League season after they lost out to champions Dundalk at Oriel Park on Monday night.
While it was an improved showing from the Rebel Army compared to Friday night’s 6-0 reversal at Shamrock Rovers, they were still second-best against the Lilywhites. The hosts led through Michael Duffy in the 16th minute and from there the destination of the three points looked decided.
Second-half goals augmented their lead and City were unable to get a first goal of the season – their last strike was by Dáire O’Connor in the 1-0 win over Dundalk last October.
After three rounds of fixtures, City are bottom of the table, with Sligo Rovers also without a point or a goal but with only four goals conceded compared to ten for Neale Fenn’s side. It all adds up to Friday night’s clash with Finn Harps at Turner’s Cross gaining extra significance as City seek to avoid being left adrift.
With Deshane Dalling suspended after his first-half red card against Rovers, Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh came into the side at centre-forward with Dylan McGlade moving to the wing but that was the only change.
City looked to keep things compact in the opening stages, with Dundalk having more of the ball, notwithstanding a curling effort by Gearóid Morrissey which went wide.
Patrick Hoban and Duffy had efforts which were saved by Liam Bossin before a Daniel Kelly effort struck Hoban and was heading wide only to be put out for a Dundalk throw. From the restart, Kelly’s cross was met on the volley by Duffy from close range and Dundalk had the lead.
A scramble in the City area almost led to the second immediately after that, Joe Redmond having to get in a good block on Seán Gannon. At the other end, Gearóid Morrissey’s cross was met by the head of O’Brien-Whitmarsh but deflected wide. Soon after that, a nice Dylan McGlade pass found Ronan Hurley in space on the left but his low cross was just behind O’Brien-Whitmarsh.
Four minutes before half-time though, City were lucky not to fall two behind as Kelly’s cross found the unmarked Daniel Cleary, but the defender headed over when it seemed easier to score.
On the resumption, City found it more difficult to make any headway and on 52 a wayward defensive header needed a strong intervention from Bossin to prevent an own goal.
McGlade did have a long-range effort which was high and wide, but Dundalk were turning the screw, with Joseph Olowu and Henry Ochieng both having to make important penalty-area interventions.
Just after the hour-mark, Dundalk were given a great opportunity to double their lead as Daniel Kelly was fouled in the penalty area by Ronan Hurley. Hoban took the spot-kick and gave Bossin no chance with a shot expertly placed in the top left corner.
Soon after that, it was 3-0 as midfielder Jordan Flores picked up a loose ball 30 yards out and unleashed a shot which was also destined for the same spot as Hoban’s penalty and the Oriel Park faithful, somewhat frustrated at times, were in full voice.
There were more chances for the home side, with Hoban shooting just wide from a good cross by left-back Darragh Leahy while Duffy was only denied a second as Bossin was quick off his line to save.
Ten minutes from the end of normal time, some lovely interplay from Duffy and Hoban gave the latter sight of goal but Joe Redmond did well to get in a saving block and just after that Daniel Kelly headed over from a Duffy cross.
Cory Galvin came on for his first competitive appearance since signing while youngsters Dale Holland and Cian Murphy were also given runouts in the closing stages. The game was well gone from City long before the end, with Dundalk comfortably seeing things out to pick up their third win from three.
They will face into a top-of-the-table clash with Shamrock Rovers on Friday night, while City’s sights right now are set much lower. Even this early in the season, the Harps match looks like a six-pointer.
DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Hoare, Leahy; Shields, Flores (Sloggett 68); D Kelly, Smith (Patching 71), Duffy (Lotefa 86); Hoban.
CORK CITY: Bossin; Stabana, Olowu, Redmond, Hurley; Morrissey (Holland 83), Ochieng, Byrne; O’Connor (Galvin 71), O’Brien-Whitmarsh (Murphy 87), McGlade.
Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).