Danny Morrissey did his quest for an Republic of Ireland U-21 call up no harm with a superb hat-trick in Turners Cross on Friday night in front of a crowd of 2,024 watching spectators, the vast majority of whom will have gone home happy with the events on Leeside.
The early stages of the tie saw both sides taking pot shots at each others goal with Daryl Horgan, Ruaidhri Higgins and Mark Griffin all firing off target before Ian Turner was the first to warm the gloves of one of the netminders with an excellent effort, turning inside onto his left foot and shooting across goal from the edge of the area, but Gerard Doherty got down well to scoop the ball around the post.
Momentum was with the homeside and that eventually paid off when Daryl Horgan, ingeniously, bicycle kicked a pass to Ciarán Kilduff on the halfways line who held the ball up and fed through the star of tonight’s show to race clear of the Derry defence, and Danny Morrissey fired high into the roof of the net with an excellent left footed effort that gave Doherty no chance.
Cork City kept the pressure on with Horgan and Morrissey combining to give Kilduff his first sight at goal, but his left footed effort was relatively weak and easy for Doherty to collect.
In truth, from this moment, Cork City went off the boil as Derry upped the tempo. First, Patrick McEleney had a shot from range and Simon Madden powered into the penalty area only to be seen to dive under a lack of challenge from Dan Murray and picked up the first yellow of the game.
Garry Buckely snuffed out another attack off the toes of McNamee, before Danny Morrissey’s control and turn forced Ryan McBride into hauling down the attacker on the halfway line for another yellow only. An excellent Simon Madden cross was cleared by the home defence before another cross from the Derry left was headed straight at Mark McNulty by Rory Patterson.
The second half started with Derry raining incessant pressure down on the Cork City goal. First, a penalty shout when Patterson went down in the area under a push in the back from John Dunleavy left Derry frustrated and Patterson picked up a booking for his protestations. Dean Jarvis hit a speculative, although technically well executed volley from 30 yards out on the left wing, however it flew over the bar into the Shed End.
A long clearance downfield was missed by Dan Murray, and the dropping ball was hit brilliantly on the volley by Patterson from 25 yards out but hit the base of the post, much to the relief of a scrambling Mark McNulty. Patrick McEleney also got in on the action with another shot from the edge of the area and he was inches away from getting a glance on a cross in from Madden that could have caused Mark McNulty some trouble.
Cork City awoke from their second half slumber when Shane Duggan sent Morrissey away on the inside right channel, and he brilliantly backheeled to Kilduff who hammered a shot for Doherty to parry over.
Cork City made the first substitution of the evening with Colin Healy coming on for Turner and Gearoid Morrissey moved to the right wing. This change of personnel saw Cork City grab a firmer hold of the game in the middle of the park and indeed, this led to the second Cork City goal. Danny Morrissey brilliantly turning between a number of Derry defenders, sprinting clean at the Derry goal before picking his spot and firing past Doherty for his second of the match.
The game’s end result could well have hinged on a vital four minute spell when, on 70 minutes, a covering John Dunleavy header went across the Cork City area only for McNamee to get onto the end of the bouncing ball, control it and dribble around McNulty for substitute McDaid to put into the empty net from one yard out. The goal, however, was ruled out for a linesman’s flag being raised, possibly for the ball going over the endline, however it didnt appear to from my view.
A matter of minutes later and Gearoid Morrissey was dribbling at the heart of the Derry defence, some quick feet and the ball was slipped through for his namesake Danny to clinically fire past Doherty with a left footed finish and to claim his match ball.
The result was put beyond doubt when a fantastic passing move by the home side culminated in Shane Duggan sliding Kilduff through from an outside right position, the pass tempted Doherty off his line, but left him in no man’s land and Kilduff expertly chipped the stranded net minder, leaving him to pick the ball out of his net for the 4th time where he had very little chance with any of the finishes.
A consolation came for Derry when, in the 83rd minute as Cork City failed to clear their lines and Barry McNamee deflected the ball into the path of Rory Patterson and he smashed the ball through the legs of McNulty in the Rebel Army goal to put an end to the scoring at Turners Cross.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy, Dan Murray, Garry Buckley, Neal Horgan; Ian Turner (Colin Healy 64), Shane Duggan (Brian Lenihan 86), Gearoid Morrissey, Daryl Horgan; Ciarán Kilduff, Danny Morrissey (Stephen Kenny 81).
Subs not used: Kalen Spillane, Rob Lehane, John Kavanagh, Kevin Burns.
Booked: Dunleavy (51), Buckley (54), Healy (69).
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Dean Jarvis; Patrick McEleney (Paddy Kavanagh 68), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy, Barry McNamee; Mark Griffin (David McDaid 68), Rory Patterson (Ryan Curran 84).
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Raymond Foy, Michael Rafter.
Booked: Madden (24), R McBride (36), Patterson (49), Jarvis (60), Kavanagh (75).
Referee: Sean Grant.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Danny Morrissey (Cork City).