A second-half strike and first club goal from Davin O'Neill earned Cork City a hard-fought victory over reigning champions Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Friday night as the Leesiders produced the shock of the season so far in the Premier Division. The 1-0 victory moves Cork to within four points of new table-toppers Derry City.
Former Cobh Ramblers striker O'Neill struck seven minutes after the interval to secure a second consecutive victory for the Rebel Army. The defeat ended the Gyspies' unbeaten start to the season, and in truth, they deserved nothing from the game on a night when they were a shadow of the side which swept aside all and sundry last season.
Bohs made three changes from the 1-0 win against Drogheda United in their last outing. Glen Cronin replaced the suspended Gary Deegan in midfield, while Mark Rossiter lined out at left-back in place of Owen Heary, who moved to the centre of defence. Killian Brennan slotted in on the left side of midfield with Joseph Ndo moved up front in place of Jason Byrne. Cork, meanwhile, made just one change from their victory over Bray Wanderers with Pat Sullivan returning from suspension and Neal Horgan dropping to the bench.
It was the home side who started brightest and it took them just two minutes to carve out their first chance when Brennan swung a dangerous ball into the box which found Jason McGuinness at the back post, but his header was deflected over by the alert Dan Murray. Those hoping that this bright opening was a sign of things to come were to be left disappointed, though, as both sides failed to create anything else of note in the opening half hour. Bohs were able to pin Cork back into their own half, but a lack of any real cutting edge meant they failed to trouble Dan Connor in the visiting goal.
Bohs striker Glen Crowe thought he had put his side ahead on 30 minutes when he drove an Anto Murphy cross into the roof of the net from six-yards, but the linesman ruled that Murphy's ball had swung out of play. That close call seemed to awaken Cork and after a good spell of pressure they should have gone ahead just before the interval. Joe Gamble sent Guntars Silagailis free down the right and he cut inside, evading Heary's sliding challenge, before attempting to play in O'Neill at the back post. However, his poor through ball was cleared by Brian Shelley on the six-yard line.
Cork remained in the ascendency after the break and O'Neill fired them ahead on 52 minutes with a neat finish from 15-yards after Behan's cutback. That was to be Behan's last contribution, with the burly striker hobbling off with what looked to be a hamstring injury just after the hour mark. He was replaced by Fahrudin Kuduzovic whose first involvement in the game was to pick up a booking for kicking the ball away.
Bohs manager Pat Fenlon also made a switch in an attempt to get his side back into things, with Byrne replacing the hugely disappointing Murphy. Byrne joined Crowe in attack with Ndo switching to the right side of midfield. Bohs, eager to keep their unbeaten start to the campaign intact, began to push for an equaliser, and McGuinness went close on 65 minutes when he met Paul Keegan's corner at the back post, only to direct it over the bar. Cork defender Danny Murphy then almost headed a Brennan corner into his own net five minutes later.
Bohs continued to pin Cork back into their own half for the remainder of the game, but they were unable to find a way through a rock-solid Cork rearguard. Byrne went agonisingly close to grabbing his side a point in injury time when he volleyed a Keegan corner narrowly wide, and in the dying seconds, the former Ireland international went close again when he headed a Graham Carey cross wide from ten-yards.
Bohemian FC: Brian Murphy; Mark Rossiter, Owen Heary, Jason McGuinness, Brian Shelley; Anto Murphy (Jason Byrne 58), Glen Cronin, Joseph Ndo, Paul Keegan, Killian Brennan (Graham Carey 73); Glen Crowe.
Unused Subs: Matt Gregg (gk), Ken Oman, Conor Powell.
Booked: Keegan (39), Heary (60), Carey (84).
Cork City: Dan Connor; Pat Sullivan (Neal Horgan 70), Greg O’Halloran, Dan Murray, Danny Murphy; Davin O’Neill (Cillian Lordan 90+2), Colin Healy, Joe Gamble, Billy Dennehy; Guntars Silagailis, Denis Behan (Fahrudin Kuduzovic 62).
Unused Subs: Mark McNulty (gk), Shane Duggan.
Booked: Kuduzovic (64), Healy (70), O'Neill (76).
Referee: Damien Hancock.
Attendance: 2,000 (estimate)
Extratime Man of the Match: Dan Murray (Cork City) - he didn't give Glen Crowe a sniff all night.