Defending champions Cork City progressed into the Quarter Finals of the FAI Cup with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Maynooth Town University in Turners Cross. In a rounded performance from the Rebel Army, goals from Aaron Barry Kieran Sadlier, Josh O’Hanlon, and Ronan Coughlan eased City into the last eight in a one sided affair on Leeside.
Both sides came into the game battle hardened from congested schedules domestically. Cork City following a comprehensive 5-1 rout of Home Farm in the first round two weeks ago, while for Maynooth it has been a road well travelled with already having played Everton of Cork in the qualifying round of the cup. Having qualified for the tournament by winning the 2017/18 FAI Intermediate Cup, Barry Prenderville’s side were no strangers to Cork opposition in their cup journey in a season which the Students knocked out Rockmount and Blarney United.
City started the brighter of the two sides from kick off, with Sadlier probing down the left flank but unable to get a ball in passed Eoin McDermott on the left flank. City never showed even the slightest of grimaces to the challenges and easily gathered possession back through a running Sadlier and mobile Barry McNamee in the centre.
Maynooth on the break mustered a half a chance as Eoin McDermott and Darragh Reynor combined to cross it in, but Gearoid Morrissey easily cleared the danger for the hosts.
The students; inspired from the chances grew in confidence as Reynor powered through the City midfield into space. With the striker tracking back, City’s midfield clamored together to press Reynor off the ball, thanks to a suffocating partnership between Morrissey and Pierce Philips.
With ten minutes played, City got the first real chance of the half as a charging Josh O’Hanlon crossed it inch perfect to Kieran Sadlier in the area, but a mis hit and a physical presence from Conor Mooney on the rebound, kept the sides scoreless.
Conor Mooney, who often fell deep into his own half defending, almost saw his rare defensive role give his side an opening, as an unmarked Mooney saw Peter Cherrie off the line, and with an audacious flick the striker narrowly missed the cross bar.
Maynooth pushed on from the opening, with high pressing in midfield seeing Mooney once again get a gifted opening, where he blasted the ball well wide and to the back of the Shed End.
Despite an energetic opening from the Students, City took the lead on the thirty minute mark when an inch perfect corner from Barry McNamee sailed through the area to find Aaron Barry who headed it in aimlessly to make it 1-0.
Almost instantaneously, City could have doubled their lead thanks to silk passing play beginning from captain Gearoid Morrissey. Neatly passing it from O’Hanlon to Sadlier, and back between the central midfielders, City found the opening with a cross from O’Hanlon which fell to Ronan Coughlan who squared it to Barry McNamee who fired cleanly at the target, only for David Sterio to gather and push it out for a corner.
The chemistry between Coughlan and McNamee almost got lucky from the restart as the attacking pair combined out wide to feed McNamee through, but a neat hit wasn’t enough and the ball trickled wide.
Despite late half chances from McNamee once more, City headed for the dressing room frustrated with a slim one goal advantage.
At the restart, City established a commanding control over the midfield with Gearoid Morrissey easily anchoring the play and traffic from the middle of the park. The presence and dominance of City’s captain, was almost rewarded soon after, as a deflected shot from Morrissey fell neatly into the hands of Sterio in goal.
City remained focused and quickly made it 2-0. In a movement started from Kieran Sadlier, the winger played through Shane Harte at right back for Maynooth, to set up a one two with Josh O’Hanlon, with the resulting shot smashing the net and sending Turners Cross into full voice.
Maynooth tried to establish a foothold from here, with Eoin McDermott crossing it in for Reynor in the center, but Cherrie was able to easily gather.
City were awarded a penalty on the 65th minute, as Harte pulled Morrissey down to the ground inside the area, with referee Sean Grant having no choice but to point to the spot. O’Hanlon stepped up and made no queries with a drilled shot low into the right side giving the keeper no chance of getting a hand to it.
The hosts soon made it 4-0 as Ronan Hurley; nestled on the right flank, cleanly swung it in for a lively Ronan Coughaln, who tapped it in past Sterio to grab his fourth goal for the club.
City progressed through neat play from Shane Daly Butz and O’Hanlon now in the centre, but chances were minimal as the game drew to a close. In the end, the Premier Division dominance of City shone through as the three in a row chasing Cork City shot 4-0 to book their place in the quarter finals.
Cork City FC: Peter Cherrie; Alan Bennett (Ronan Hurley 62), Johnny Dunleavy, Aaron Barry, Gearoid Morrissey, Kieran Sadlier (Shane Daly Butz 65’), Josh O’Hanlon, Ronan Coughlan, Conor McCarthy, Barry McNamee (Alec Byrne 62), Pierce Philips.
Subs not used: Mark McNulty, Karl Sheppard, Shane Griffin, Gary Buckley.
Maynooth Town University: David Sterio; Shane Harte, Gary Daly, Conor Mooney, Conor Dunne, Darragh Gannon (Conor Foley 60’), Daniel Burke, Mark Colgan (Gavin Kinsella 72’), Eoin McDermott (Eoin Donnellan 70’), Darragh Reynor, Cillian Duffy.
Subs not used: Cian Byrne, Youseff Belhout, Martin O’Connor, Dean Barrett.
Booked: Daniel Burke. Darragh Reynor (Yellow Card).
Referee: Sean Grant.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Aaron Barry.