Cork City 1 (Kevin O Connor 65) Dundalk 2 (Massey 36, Hoban 45)
By Paul Connolly.
Dundalk collected the Presidents Cup and landed the first knockout blow of the season in what will surely be the first of many battles between these two again.
A scrappy opening from both sides as they struggled to keep possesion and it took six minutes for Dundalk to
force the first corner which had the visitors claiming for a penalty which was waved away by referee, Rob Hennessy.
Shortly afterwards, a lovely through ball from Patrick Hoban set Michael Duffy away but he saw his shot gathered
by Mark McNulty at the second attempt.
Dundalk began to get on top and seemed to have settled the better and another corner kick had Duffy’s clipped ball
met by Hoban who saw his header hit the post before being scrambled clear for another corner.
Cork City’s first real attack saw Gearoid Morrisey set Shane Griffin away down the left but his cross was dealt with by Brian Gartland.
On 22 minutes, good play from Morrisey fed the lively Daire O Connor and he forced a corner which was claimed easily by Gary Rogers.
A long ball from Sean Gannon into the box was glanced wide by Patrick McEleney as Dundalk set the tempo.
The visitors were in full control of the game at this stage and the deserved breakthrough came as Dundalk broke down the right, Gannon’s shot was blocked last ditch and it broke to John Mountney and his shot was deflected wide.
The resulting corner saw Dane Massey meet a near post flick on at the back post to give the Lilywhites the
Disaster struck for City on the stroke of half-time as Chris Shields found Duffy with a driven ball out wide
and his cross found Hoban eight yards out who glanced his header into the net to give Dundalk what appeared to be an unassailable 2-0 lead at the interval.
It was no more than Dundalks first half performance deserved and Cork needed an instant reply in the second half.
Graham Cummins low drive was parried away by Rogers and put to safety by Gartland as City started brightly.
On the hour mark, a superb Cruff turn by Duffy saw him gain a half yard and his cross found Hoban and his blocked header fell to Robbie Benson who will feel he should have made it three before slipping at the vital stage.
City broke immediately down the right with the energetic Daire O Connor crossing for Conor McCarthy who saw his volley from the edge of box fly wide.
Daire O Connor, who was grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck made a superb run and beat three men and won a free kick 25 yards out.
Substitute, Kevin O Connor just back at the club on loan from Preston bent a peach of a free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
It lifted the stadium and with a quarter of an hour to go Kevin O Connor almost brought the game level forcing a great save from Rogers.
After that, the game petered out and despite a much improved second half from the home side they really lacked that cutting edge to snatch an equalizer.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Sean McLoughlin, Conor McCarthy, Shane Griffin, Dan Casey, Daire O Connor, Gearoid Morrissey, Conor McCormack (Kevin O Connor 62) Garry Buckley, Graham Cummins, James Tilley.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey, Robbie Benson (Dean Jarvis), Michael Duffy, John Mountney, Chris Shields, Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 83), Patrick McEleney (Sean Murray 68).