Philip Morrissey reporting from Turner's Cross
Cork City and Derry City played out a scoreless draw in Turner’s Cross on Friday night in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division. On the back of the defeat by Waterford, it means that the Rebel Army have now failed to win or score in their opening two home encounters. It was another setback after the boost of winning in Sligo.
Clear opportunities were at a premium on a night where the weather caused both sides major difficulties. Derry might feel happier to come away with a point as they came under exerted pressure towards the end.
Both teams had come into the encounter on the back of wins on Monday night. Derry had impressed in beating Waterford to keep up their hundred per cent record, whilst Cork held on to secure their first points of the season at the Showgrounds.
Both sides named unchanged starting XIs from those games. Alan Bennett remained on the side-lines as a result of his hamstring injury and Graham Cummins also missed out. Karl Sheppard and Gearoid Morrissey shook off knocks picked up during the week.
Peter Cherrie and Barry McNamee were able to make a quick return to the club they both left during the close season. A blow for Derry came when Patrick McClean was injured during the warm up and was replaced by Ciaran Coll.
Straight from the kick-off, City were on the front foot. Liam Nash ran on to a ball played down the line which was just intercepted in time by Cherrie. Moments later, Morrissey won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the area but it was slammed into the wall.
Morrissey was involved shortly after when his dangerous low cross was hacked clear by Darren Cole. The tempo remained high but neither team were able to hold on possession for any length of time. Attacks were initiated but broke down quickly as passes failed to find their destination.
There was a lucky escape for City about ten minutes in. Mark McNulty entrusted himself to nutmeg David Parkhouse following a back-pass. He was successful but Junior Ogebi-Uzokwe was lurking. The city keeper was fortunate that the striker was crowded out and the chance was lost. Not the conditions to try such audacity.
The first meaningful chance occurred when Sean McLoughlin swept a wonderful ball out to Shane Griffin. He checked his run before laying it off to Morrissey. The midfielder was unable to repeat his effort from Sligo though.
The game continued to be somewhat frantic. Referee Rogers was forced to issue a stern warning to a number of players following a couple of meaty challenges. Liam Nash expressed his frustration after some tackles against him. The stop-start nature of the match continued as Sheppard was attended to due to a collision.
Griffin then began to stamp his name on proceedings. Michael McCrudden was booked as he pulled the left-back’s jersey to prevent him setting up another attack. Barry McNamee was played through the centre from a long-ball. He was in the clear, but Griffin managed to nip in and won the ball back.
At the other end, he came closest to opening the scoring as his low effort struck the post and went to the wrong side. He then advanced down the left wing before producing a great cross into the area. It was met by an overhead kick by Nash, but Sheppard was unable to get the desired final touch on it. Buckley attempted to seize on a free-kick into the box but was thwarted by Cherrie.
That was the last real opportunity before the break and both sides went into the dressing rooms with a certain desire to put things right. Getting out of the persistent rain may have had something to do with it also.
Derry came out in the second-half with an increased vigour. A slow build-up saw the ball land at the feet of Ally Gilchrist. He decided to take his chance and his shot from distance was set to dip under the crossbar before McNulty tipped it over. The resulting corner saw a goal-mouth scramble that could have gone anywhere. They kept up the pressure with a few more set-pieces, before eventually conceding a foul.
The tide swung back to City thanks to Nash. His persistence led to his opponent fouling him. The free-kick was cleared for a corner which could have gone anywhere. More stoppages disrupted the flow yet again though. Sean McLoughlin went down injured and Caulfield decided to change up his attack at the same time.
It took a few minutes for either side to really produce anything of note but then City came again. Cherrie had to dash out to clear the ball away from an on-rushing Nash before another dangerous corner.
Substitute James Tilley played in Dan Casey whose cross was just too deep for the city attackers. Tilley then sent in a cross of his own which cause panic in the Derry box. Cherrie failed to catch it properly, but Gilchrist was on hand to clear from Sheppard who was poised to score.
Derry were hanging on now at this point and Declan Devine realised this. He sought to shore up his defence by switching his formation around. Cork were not finished just yet. Dan Smith headed wide from a teasing cross by Colm Horgan that seemed destined to score.
Moments later, Conor McCarthy stabbed the ball just wide after it bounced around the area from a corner. The shed end screamed for a penalty when Gary Buckley went down in the area but was waved away. Tilley also had a shot blocked on the line.
Derry had a couple of opportunities on the break but eventually it finished scoreless. The final whistle was greeted with a few muted boos from the crowd exuding a general air of frustration.
Another home game and another blank. Derry will be happy to build on their season with a decent point on the road especially after taking heavy defeats here last season. They are set for another journey next time out as they take on top of the table Bohemians, while City face a long trip to play Finn Harps.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Sean McLoughlin (Colm Horgan), Shane Griffin, Conor McCormack, Gary Buckley, Gearoid Morrisey, Daire O’ Connor (James Tilley), Liam Nash (Dan Smith), Karl Sheppard.
Subs not used: Tadgh Ryan (gk), Darragh Rainsford, Kevin O’ Connor, Garry Comerford.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie, Ciaran Coll, Darren Cole, Eoin Toal, Ally Gilchrist, Ciaron Harkin, Gregg Sloggert, Barry McNamee, Michael McCrudden (Aidy Delap), Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Eoghan Stokes), David Parkhouse (Gianni Seraf)
Subs not used: Nathan Gartside, Geraldo Bruno, Josh Kerr.
Referee: Robert Rogers
Extratime Man of the Match: Shane Griffin (Cork City).