CORK City jumped above Athlone Town into sixth-place in the table after defeating Paul Doolin’s side in their First Division meeting at Turner's Cross.
On a night where 1,256 spectators were in attendance, goals from Barry Coffey, Cian Murphy and Dylan McGlade gave City a deserved victory over Athlone, with Kurtis Byrne getting on the scoresheet for the visitors.
The victory stretches City’s undefeated run in the league to seven matches. Colin Healy will be pleased with the overall performance but will be aware that there are still areas in their game that can be improved.
City made three changes to the side that started in their last outing with Cian Bargary, Aaron Bolger and Jack Walsh coming into the team in place of Alec Byrne, George Heaven and Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh. It was Walsh’s first time featuring in City’s starting 11 since the host’s played away to UCD back in May.
Healy’s side took the lead with just two minutes on the clock. A long throw-in from Bargary wasn’t dealt with by the Athlone defence and Coffey instinctively finished from close-range.
City doubled their advantage four minutes later when Murphy scored his 10th league goal of the campaign. The City striker was quick to capitalised on a poor back-pass from Killan Cantwell before calmly slotting the ball past the on-rushing Michael Schlingerman in the Athlone goal.
McGlade should have increased City’s lead but could not convert Murphy’s excellent cross.
McGlade did get on the scoresheet in the 25th minute. The City player collected the ball on the left wing before cutting inside and firing an unstoppable effort into the top corner of the Athlone neat.
Ronan Hurley was denied by Schlingermann after City had successfully produced a training ground routine free-kick to find to create an opening for the left-back.
The half-time lead did not flatter the hosts. City dominated throughout the half against Athlone. Healy’s side moved the ball with purpose and they were ruthless in front of goal. Athlone struggled to deal with the movement of the City players and made little impact in the first 45 minutes.
Athlone did give themselves hope of getting back into the game two minutes after the interval. James Doona did well to create space in the City penalty area before laying off to Byrne who finished effortlessly with the outside of his foot.
City didn’t show signs of panicking and went close to restoring their three-goal advantage through Murphy and Coffey.
Athlone were much improved in the second half with Glen McAuley and Byrne forcing McNulty into making two excellent saves.
Meanwhile, Treaty United beat a flat Cobh Ramblers side 3-0 at Markets Field, with Cork's Anto O'Donnell on the scoresheet.
It was a key victory for the Limerick side in the play-off race Cobh are now five games without a win and were also knocked out of the FAI Cup last weekend.