A 17th and 18th league goal of the season from Preston bound striker Sean Maguire helped keep Cork City’s lead 18 points lead over Dundalk intact in the SSE Airtricity League last night in Turners Cross.
Cork City still unbeaten in the league after 18 games took the lead through Maguire, before Rodrigo Tosi equalised from the penalty spot after Chiedozie Ogbene was upended. The home side had the lead going into the break with Stephen Dooley lashing a strike into the net on 44 minutes.
Limerick thought they would get a good start to the second half but they had to deal with Maguire finishing to the net early on before Keohane finished off a great night for the rebel army.
Of greater concern for manager John Caulfield is the condition of Johnny Dunleavy as he was stretchered off the field after 54 minutes following a tackle with Ogbene. The injury potentially leaves Caulfield without centre halves Ryan Delaney and Johnny Dunleavy ahead of the game next week in Derry.
Cork City made one change to the side that defeated Dundalk 3-0 two weeks ago with Alan Bennett replacing Ryan Delaney, who injured his knee on Monday night in the Munster Senior Cup victory over Wilton United.
Limerick made three changes from the side that defeated Bray Wanderers 5-3 before the mid season break with Brendan Clarke, Shane Duggan and Dean Clarke coming into the starting team in place of Freddy Hall, Tommy Robson and Shaun Kelly.
The opening minutes had little of note with both Tosi heading wide, while at the other end Conor McCormack who was his usual industrious self in the centre of the field firing wide after several minutes.
Tony Whitehead saw the game delayed for a number of minutes after a collision with Dean Clarke but he was able to continue after receiving treatment.
Ogbene who left Cork City earlier in the year had a shot cleared off the line by McCormack on 16 minutes as Limerick who were as high as 28/1 in the first half tried to defy the expectations.
Jimmy Keohane, who had a very good game at right back, saw his shot saved by Brendan Clarke on 21 minutes as the home time upped the tempo, with Preston bound Kevin O’Connor seeing a free kick saved.
On 23 minutes, Maguire notched his 17th league goal of the game when heading home a Karl Shepherd cross.
The large home crowd of 4,725 had barely time to catch their breath when misfortune struck their side when Ogbene was upended in the City box by Mark McNulty. Despite the protestations of the home side, Rob Rogers pointed to the spot. Up stepped Tosi to score his ninth goal of the season and his first penalty of the year.
Gary Buckley had a header well saved by Clarke from close range, while Captain Alan Bennett headed narrowly wide shortly afterwards.
On the verge of half time, Dooley scored his third league goal of the season from 20 yards with the aid of the post after O’Connor’s pass.
The second half was only 15 seconds old when Maguire made it 3-1 when capitalising on a poor defensive back pass by Robbie Williams after Bastien Hery had given a poor pass initially to round Clarke and slot the ball into an empty net much to the delight of the shed end.
Dunleavy suffered a leg injury on 51 minutes that saw the game delayed for a number of minutes as the player received treatment before leaving on a stretcher.
Cork City was well on top for the majority of the second half and they capped it off with a well deserved goal by Keohane who finished superbly to the top corner from 20 yards.
Limerick had a late chance but McNulty made a superb save to deny Garbhan Coughlan from close range.
Next up for Cork City is a trip to Buncrana, while Limerick will entertain St. Patrick’s Athletic next week.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Jimmy Keohane, Johnny Dunleavy (Greg Bolger 55, inj), Alan Bennett, Kevin O’Connor; Conor McCormack, Gearóid Morrissey; Karl Shepherd, Gary Buckley (Sean O’Mahony 87), Stephen Dooley (Shane Griffin 81); Sean Maguire.
Subs not used: Alan Smith, Steven Beattie, Connor Ellis, Achille Campion.
Yellow Cards: McCormack (61)
Red Cards: None
Limerick: Brendan Clarke; Dean Clarke, Robbie Williams, David O’Connor, Tony Whitehead (Garbhan Coughlan 75), Shane Duggan; Bastien Hery (Shane Tracy 87), Paul O’Connor, Lee J Lynch; Rodrigo Tosi, Chiedozie Ogbene.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland, Ian Turner, Stephen Kenny, Chris Mulhall, Sean McSweeney
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Sean Maguire (Cork City)