Cork City look to have put an end to Derry City’s slim hopes of European qualification with a hard earned victory at the Brandywell on Friday evening. In a fairly evenly contested affair Cork’s more dogged second half performance earned them the win and Tommy Dunne will be delighted with the application his men showed.
Derry started the first half very brightly and in the fourth minute a superb long range strike from Ruaidhri Higgins was parried away by Mark McNulty and Patrick McEleney could only put the rebound wide.
Cork then seemed to settle a bit and in the ninth minute a poor Dermot McCaffrey clearance allowed Ian Turner to get to the byline and his cross was turned wide when he really should have done better. In the 15th minute a clever bit of footwork by David McDaid earned Derry a free kick on the edge of the area but McLaughlin’s effort was saved well by McNulty.
Minutes later a great run from McLaughlin, beating two men, came to nothing when no-one could get on the end of his cross. In the 22nd minute Gerard Doherty pulled off a magnificent save, tipping Shane Duggan’s downward header over the bar. In the 37th minute, Patrick McEleney, who was beginning to influence the game more and more, hit a terrific low shot from 20 yards that McNulty did brilliantly to tip around his post. From the resulting corner Conor Murphy almost scrambled home the opener but Cork just managed to clear their lines.
On the stroke of half time, the influential Simon Madden sent a cross to the far post which Patrick McEleney headed across goal for Stephen McLaughlin who should have opened the scoring, but was foiled on the line by McNulty.
The second half saw Derry grab the bull by the horns and Simon Madden in particular was getting plenty of joy down the right flank. Twice in the space of a minute his perfectly centred crosses found Barry Molloy who should have done better with a header and volley respectively.
Seven minutes into the second period another Madden cross found the head of Conor Murphy who maybe should have chosen power over placement as he glanced his header wide.
In the 68th minute, and against the run of play, a lightning fast counter attack saw the visitors take the lead. Davin O'Neill found himself one on one with Doherty but the Derry net-minder saved well. From the resulting corner the ball was knocked back across the goal and Garry Buckley made no mistake with a powering header.
At this point the match lulled into a scrappy midfield affair. David McDaid should have equalised for the home side in the 72nd minute with a shot that McNulty managed to keep out. For the rest of the game Derry threw everything at the Leesiders but they defended very doggedly and signs of Derry’s frustration came in the 94th minute when Ryan McBride lunged into a two footed tackle and the referee felt a straight red card was his only option.
Overall Derry probably deserved a draw out of the game but Corks application and effort earned them the points which they will feel they deserved. Cork manager Tommy Dunne will certainly be the happier of the two bosses but its back to the drawing board for Declan Devine and his men.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Dermot McCaffrey; Patrick McEleney (Marc Brolly 90+2), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy (c), Stephen McLaughlin; Conor Murphy (Mark Farren 69), David McDaid.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Michael Duffy, Caoimhin Bonner, Ryan Curran, Barry McNamee.
Booked: Madden (83).
Sent Off: McBride (90+4).
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Gavin Kavanagh, Kevin Murray (c), Kalen Spillane, Danny Murphy; Garry Buckley; Ian Turner (Stephen Kenny 90+3), Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Duggan, Davin O'Neill (Keith Quinn 82); Vinny Sullivan (Keigan Parker 62).
Subs not used: Danny Morrissey, Andy O'Connell, Kevin Burns, Graham McCarthy.
Booked: G Kavanagh (90+2).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Attendance: 1,000 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Mark McNulty (Cork City).