Substitute Thomas Stewart was Derry City's saviour in front of 1,972 wet fans at the Turners Cross. In an almost carbon copy of the same game back in March, Cork bossed the majority of the game but tired in the end, as the lack of strength in their squad looked to be taking its toll.
Derry never really looked like threatening until the last ten minutes when Stewart was introduced. The Candystripes began attacking and after a couple of unspectacular shots from the Derry number 20, he came up trumps on the third occasion. Nobody closed him down and he shot with his left from well over twenty yards, the ball skidded along the wet surface and it beat Michael Devine in the bottom corner.
For the second time this year in this fixture, Cork were left extremely disappointed after controlling the majority of the game. The Rebel Army dropped back after being the sole contributors to any attacking play for much of the game. City did have a more than suitable excuse though, they didn't have one orthodox striker on the pitch as Denis Behan was taken off injured after a nasty clash with Mc Chrystal with just over a half hour remaining. Behan did come back on after several minutes of treatment but didn't last and Billy Woods was introduced for his first Eircom League appearance of the season.
In a goalless first half, Cork passed the ball well at times but never really threatened Doherty in the Derry goal. The Candystripes never really made Devine work either and Cork centre backs Séan Kelly and Dan Murray closed out the Derry strikers for the much of the half. Derry did have a couple of half chances though. The best of those a shot from Niall Mc Ginn but it was deflected by team-mate Kevin Mc Hugh after 40 minutes.
City's main opportunities in the first half all followed an almost exact pattern. Good play resulting in a cross from the left from either Danny Murphy or Darragh Ryan but lacking the final reward. Dan Murray had the chance of the half, a header which went straight into the hands of Gerard Doherty while Darren Murphy also went close with his head from a Ryan corner, just before half time.
The second half began much better with Cork piling on the pressure and they had a series of chances within a twenty minute period that they absolutely dominated. Darren Murphy hit the side netting shortly after the restart and from then on City were well on top until the aforementioned substitute of Stewart.
Cillian Lordan was substituted at half time after a very quiet first period and Alan O'Connor was introduced in a direct swap and he added a bit more life down the right flank. The man signed from local Munster Senior League outfit Rockmount earlier this season, was immediately in the thick of things as he had an appeal for a penalty turned away by referee Tomás Connolly.
He was also at the centre of the build-up play for the opening goal of the game. He played the ball to Darren Murphy on the right wing, with City down to ten men and Denis Behan off the pitch for the time being, Darragh Ryan arrived in the box as Murphy played the ball back to O'Connor who hit a lovely cross onto Ryan's head and the Cork number 3 headed the ball downwards before it bounced over the head of Doherty and into the Derry net.
With six minutes of added time, the small crowd tried to rally the Cork players but they never looked like grabbing a winner, Darren Murphy shot but it was well saved by Doherty at the now demoralised Shed End and then Corks other Murphy, Danny, was booked out of complete frustration. The eighth booking of a game riddled with mistimed tackles, possibly due to the very wet conditions. . There were five players booked by referee Tommy Connolly in the first half, Darren Murphy and Denis Behan for Cork, with the visitors' Sean Hargan, Kevin McHugh and Clive Delaney all shown the yellow card. While Murray Mc Chrystal were also added to the list.
Both sides now look forward to the quarter-final at the same venue on Saturday night. With nothing left to play for in the League for either side the game Saturday will be anticipated massively anticipated. Cork could be in deep trouble though as there is a real lack of striking options and if Behan is out injured after his nasty clash with Mark Mc Chrystal, the Rebel Army will be without their only regular orthodox striker.
Cork City: Michael Devine; Neal Horgan, Dan Murray, Sean Kelly, Danny Murphy; Darren Murphy, Colin Healy, Cillian Lordan (Alan O'Connor 46), Darragh Ryan; Liam Kearney; Denis Behan (Billy Woods 72).
Subs not used: Mark McNulty, Gareth Cambridge, Tim Kiely.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Sean Hargan, Mark McChrystal, Clive Delaney, Gareth McGlynn; Kevin McHugh (James McClean 72), Ruaidhri Higgins, Kevin Deery, Niall McGinn; Sammy Morrow (Thomas Stewart 80), Mark Farren.
Subs not used: Darren Quigley, Eddie McCallion, Aaron Callaghan.
Referee: Tom Connolly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Darragh Ryan (Cork City) - non-stop running on the wing all night and scored the goal which put Cork ahead.
Alan Smith works as a sub-editor for the Guardian newspaper in London. Originally from Cork, he freelances for several other newspapers and websites. Follow him on twitter @alansmith90.