St Mary’s 0 Cork City 2
SECOND-HALF goals from new signing Darragh Rainsford and Ronan Hurley earned Cork City victory in last night’s pre-season friendly at a cold St Mary’s Park.
Having beaten Limerick at Bishopstown on Saturday, and with a Munster Senior Cup clash to come against Fermoy this Sunday, this was another opportunity for City manager John Caulfield to bed in the new 3-5-2 formation and he was pleased overall with the outing.
While City should probably have led at half-time, that they didn’t was down to good goalkeeping from Ryan Delaney of Mary’s, while defender Adam Crowley made his presence felt more than once as well.
City always dominated the play though, and once Rainsford, making his first appearance after signing from Pike Rovers, opened the scoring with a brilliantly-taken goal four minutes into the second half, the professional side were unlikely to be denied victory.
The Limerick native partnered Graham Cummins up front while extra attacking impetus came from wing-backs John Kavanagh and Ronan Hurley, while midfielders Daire O’Connor and Garry Comerford got forward well, knowing that Conor McCormack was behind them.
As early as the seventh minute, Rainsford went close with a curling shot after Hurley’s cross was half-blocked and soon after that another Hurley delivery was almost met by the Limerick man at the back post.
The hosts, who played City in last season’s Munster Senior Cup final and who share top spot in Division 1 of the Munster Senior League at present, were on the back foot for much of the opening half, but they did have a chance on 19 minutes.
A clearance wasn’t properly dealt with by the City defence, allowing centre-forward Josh Lombardi to nip in, and his attempted lob of goalkeeper Tadhg Ryan wasn’t far over the bar. It was only a brief interruption of the City flow, however, with O’Connor forcing Delaney into a save at the expense of a corner while Mary’s right-back Kyle Keeley had to be alert to the danger when a Kavanagh cross might have been dangerous.
Just after the half-hour, a nice Hurley centre was just behind his fellow wing-back Kavanagh while Comerford had a half-volley from the edge of the area which whistled just over the crossbar.
Delaney had to punch clear when Cummins almost helped on a Seán McLoughlin header from a corner and, just before the break, Alan Bennett headed just wide from another corner following Hurley’s excellent delivery.
However, City didn’t have long to wait for the deadlock to be broken after resumption. After another O’Connor shot forced a corner, Kavanagh spotted Rainsford at the edge of the area and sent the ball low to him, allowing the attacker to curl a beautiful effort to the top corner of the Mary’s net.
Shortly after the hour mark, Rainsford could and should have doubled his tally after he dispossessed Crowley on the edge of the area, but goalkeeper Delaney did well to smother his effort, and midway through the half, he was quick off his line to stop sub Darragh Crowley getting on the end of Rainsford’s pass.
When Comerford found Crowley on 73, Delaney was again able to save, and Hurley fired across the goal four minutes later, with another sub, Shane Daly-Bütz, creating his chance.
Just before the end, though, Hurley did get a goal, one his overall performance merited. Again, Daly-Bütz was involved and, although his intended target Crowley couldn’t get on the end of it, Hurley was able to send the loose ball to the net.
ST MARY’S: Ryan Delaney; Kyle Keeley, Adam Crowley, Cian Murphy, Jamie Lewis; Eoin McCarthy, Nathan Broderick, Eric Murphy, Jason Conway, Jack Singleton; Josh Lombardi.
Subs: Alex Hill, Marco Crowley, Darren O’Sullivan, Kevin O’Dea, Jordan Waters, Colin Hanifin, Jordan O’Connor, Colm Murphy.
CORK CITY: Tadhg Ryan; Alan Bennett, Aaron Barry, Seán McLoughlin; John Kavanagh, Daire O’Connor, Conor McCormack, Garry Comerford, Ronan Hurley; Graham Cummins, Darragh Rainsford.
Subs: Charlie Lyons, David Harrington, Shane Daly-Bütz, Colm Horgan, Joe Meaney, Darragh Crowley, Pierce Phillips.
Referee: David Keeler.