Date: 7:45 p.m. May 29, 2009
Venue: Turners Cross
Scored: 56'- Jason Byrne 56'
The hype and build-up prior to the game was enormous, however, the opening half didn’t live up to it whatsoever. Bohemians had a decent chunk of possession in the first half and lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Jason Byrne the lone striker. Cork continued with their very successful 4-3-3, as Billy Dennehy made his return from injury. The home team lost influential midfielder Joe Gamble through injury in just the 7th minute, giving Stephen O’Donnell a chance to do battle against the club he won the double with last season.
Denis Behan had the first real chance on 18, when he forced Brian Murphy into a save with a powerful header from Colin Healy’s cross. Just a minute later, Healy’s corner found Dan Murray at the back post but the captain headed into the side netting. Neal Horgan, fresh from a long lay-off started his first game since Bray Wanderers back in March and it was clear to see how pumped up he was, climbing to win several headers that Dan Murray in the centre of defence would have been proud of. Being pumped up wasn’t quite enough, though, as the first half of the tie was far from being anywhere near exciting.
A flowing Bohs move involving Jason Byrne and Joey Ndo culminated in Gary Deegan heading just wide but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as Deegan was just offside in the 28th minute. At the other end, Glen Cronin looked to have handled a Denis Behan effort inside the area, but Dave McKeon waved play on despite strong protests emanating from all but one corner of the ground. Meanwhile, Paul Keegan almost gave Bohs’ the lead on 43 minutes as his powerful effort rocketed narrowly wide after a very slight deflection.
Bohemians’ were on top at the start of the second half, though Denis Behan poked the ball narrowly wide for Cork a minute after the break. Byrne called Dan Connor into action on 52, with a powerful right footed drive from an acute angle. Connor then made an excellent stop from Keegan’s head at the far post, as the sizeable Bohs’ support at the other end of the ground got behind their team.
The net finally bulged for Bohs’ in the 56th minute. Cronin’s cross was met by the head of Byrne who guided the ball into the corner of the net leaving Connor with no chance and giving the striker his 12th goal of the season so far. Byrne’s third header of the campaign was the first goal conceded by Cork in 535 minutes of league football.
Cork had a lot of possession, but goalmouth action was too few and far between for Paul Doolin's side to get an equaliser. The closest they came was a Dennehy snap-shot from the edge of the area before the winger, on his first game back from injury, was replaced by Guntars Silagailis. Stephen O’Donnell’s stinging effort was deflected out for a corner on 85 as the 5,000 Cork fans got behind their team, who tried hard to stage a late rally. It was not to be as the Rebel Army’s night was typified by Timmy Kiely hitting the side netting from Faz Kuduzovic’s ball with the last kick as the delirious Bohs’ fans travel back up the N8 with the tune to “Who’s on top of the league?” ringing in their head.
Cork City: Dan Connor, Neal Horgan, Greg O’Halloran, Dan Murray, Danny Murphy Colin Healy, Joe Gamble, Cillian Lordan Faz Kuduzovic, Billy Dennehy, Denis Behan.
Subs: Stephen O’Donnell (Joe Gamble 7mins), Guntars Silagailis (Billy Dennehy, 77mins), Timmy Kiely (Neal Horgan, 85mins), Mark McNulty, Kevin Long.
Bohemians: Brian Murphy, Anto Murphy, Conor Powell, Glen Cronin, Brian Shelley, Ken Oman, Graham Carey, Paul Keegan, Gary Deegan, Jason Byrne, Joseph Ndo.
Subs: Killian Brennan (Joseph Ndo, 76mins), Neale Fenn (Jason Byrne, 84mins), Sean Byrne (Graham Carey, 90mins), Matt Gregg, Mark Hughes.
Referee: D McKeon.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Jason Byrne; scorer of the decisive goal and done well throughout before getting injured even though he was up front on his own.