By Simon O'Gorman at the Carlisle Grounds
A goal and an assist from Sean Maguire laid the foundations for Cork City’s latest league triumph as a late Jimmy Keohane goal sealed the three points against Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Sunday afternoon.
A large crowd gathered at a sunbaked Carlisle Grounds for this Sunday afternoon fixture that featured first against third from the SSE Airtricity Premier Division, but the heat of the sun was rarely reflected in the temperature of a game that lacked urgency.
City may have had one eye on their Europa League match away to AEK Larnaca next Thursday but Bray had no such distractions and might have been expected to contribute more to a quite pedestrian first half.
It was Bray who created the first chance when Jason Marks’ fourth minute cross was headed wide by Mark Salmon but thereafter the tempo was set and maintained by a Cork side that had four changes from last Thursday’s defeat (their first of the season) to Larnaca.
Kieran Sadlier on the left and Karl Sheppard on the right were regularly employed, running the flanks and delivering a slew of crosses, and when City attacked down the centre Sean Maguire was keen to run at defenders and make a general nuisance of himself.
And it was Maguire, inevitably, who broke the deadlock on 13 minutes, heading home powerfully from Steven Beattie’s cross from the right. The striker should have scored as early as the fifth minute but his glancing header was too fine and Jimmy Keohane only narrowly failed to convert Maguire’s miss with a diving hedaer at the far post.
PHOTO BY TOM BEARY
After the goal Bray soaked up wave upon wave of City attack, usually coming through Sadlier on the left, but also utilising Sheppard on the opposite side. There was, however, a lack of urgency about it all and apart from Maguire’s run at goal that was thwarted by a well-judged grab by Cherrie in the 37th minute, there was little to excite the crowd of 1,879.
Bray had a more productive second half and made a better contest of a game that still lacked bite, at least until the latter stages. Aaron Greene did well to get himself in on goal six minutes after the break but, under pressure, he shot to the side netting.
The home side had the ball in the net five minutes later when Gary McCabe’s free from the left appeared to deceive Mark McNulty and drift straight to the net, but referee Robert Harvey flagged for a foul and Bray were denied.
The next real chance fell to Maguire just after the hour. Having survived a period of Bray dominance the striker took a pass from Beattie and drove on towards goal, hammering a shot off the inside of the post. Substitute Achille Campion saw his effort from the rebound deflected wide.
This sparked something of a revival from City and having claimed the majority of possession they finally put away their second after 86 minutes to effectively end the game. Conor Kenna’s wayward clearance was taken up by Maguire who spread the play to Jimmy Keohane and his finish from close in was emphatic.
So City maintain their unbeaten domestic run and will now switch their attention to the Europa League challenge of AEK Larnaca next Thursday. Bray return to their persuit of a league position that would see them with similar adventures next season.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Keith Buckley, Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Kevin Lynch; Mark Salmon (Darragh Noone 71), John Sullivan; Ryan Brennan, Gary McCabe, Jason Marks; Aaron Greene.
Subs Not Used: Lee Steacy (gk), Karl Moore, Derek Foran, Tim Clancy, Jamie Aherne, Ger Pender.
Booked: Greene (85).
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Alan Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin; Karl Sheppard (Conor Ellis 88), Garry Buckley (Achille Campion 61), Conor McCormack, Jimmy Keohane, Kieran Sadlier; Sean Maguire (Sean O’Mahony 90+2).
Subs Not Used: Alan Smith (gk), Greg Bolger, Gearoid Morrissey, Stephen Dooley.
Booked: Buckley (55), Maguire (62), Delaney (81), McNulty (81).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Extratime Man of the Match: Sean Maguire (Cork City.