THE league’s hottest property, Seanie Maguire brought his goals haul to 16 for the season when his glorious hat-trick gave league leaders Cork City a huge 3-0 away win over the defending champions, Dundalk in this televised SSE Airtricity League clash at Oriel Park tonight, writes Noel Spillane.
Maguire who is due to move to Preston North End at the end of July was in the right place twice to net the all important goals in the 19th, 70th and 93rd minutes.
Karl Sheppard’s low cross set up the first for a tap-in and then he glanced home a header from Johnny Dunleavy’s cross after the Donegal man played a quick throw-in off Jimmy Keohane’s back.
Maguire completed his hat-trick in added time to give Cork a seventh win in the last eight meetings between the teams.
Gearoid Morrissey, Karl Sheppard and Maguire, with a first time volley from Keohane’s cross, were close to adding to the Leesiders’ lead before half-time in what was the 80th meeting of the league’s two biggest rivals.
City came into this TV clash, unbeaten in 16 games since the start of the season and with a massive 15-point advantage over the three in-a-row champions but Stephen Kenny’s side s struggled to cope and contain an exuberant Cork City team.
Cork had created all the best chances in the first half and goalkeeper Mark McNulty didn’t have a save to make though the Lilywhites could have been level by the break.
Michael Duffy’s free just off the penalty arc was deflected over off the defensive wall and then in added time in the first half Dane Massey had a ‘free’ header go wide from Duffy’s subsequent corner.
Maguire sealed the deal with his 70th minute second goal to stretch Cork’s lead at the top of the table to an unassailable 18 points and bagged the match ball with an added time third as he rounded the keeper to score again.
Dundalk (4-1-4-1) - Rogers; Gannon, Barrett, Vemmelund, Massey (capt); Shields; Duffy, McEleney, Benson, McGrath; McMillan.
Subs. Stewart for McGrath (65 mins), O’Donnell for Shields (68 mins), Kilduff for Duffy (74 mins), Gartland, Clifford, Hoare & Sava (not used) Cork City (4-2-3-1) - McNulty; Dunleavy, Bennett (capt), Delaney, O’Connor; Morrissey, McCormack; Sheppard, Keohane, Dooley; Maguire.
Subs. Griffin for Dooley (76 mins), Beattie for Sheppard (80 mins), Bolger for Morrissey (83 mins), Campion, Ellis, Buckley & Smith (not used) Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal) Official attendance: 3,643