Tom O’Connor reports from Oriel Park
Cork City return to Leeside having failed to register a goal or a point in their opening three league fixtures as Dundalk dispatched their visitors by three goals to nil in a ruthlessly professional manner at a freezing cold Oriel Park on Monday night.
City made one enforced change with the suspended Deshane Dalling replaced by young Beneoin O’Brien Whitmarsh and Dylan McGlade dropping into a more familiar wing role.
Dundalk replaced Dane Massey and Sean Hoare with Darragh Leahy and Daniel Cleary in defence, while Greg Sloggett was benched at the expense of Daniel Kelly and Cameron Smith moved inside.
In the opening minute Dundalk's Pat Hoban set up Dan Kelly, but he overran the ball and Cork escaped. Cork’s first shot arrived in the 7th minute with skipper Gearoid Morrissey dragging his effort wide.
Dundalk responded immediately with Hoban heading straight at Bossin in the Cork goal. The Belgian had to be sharp a minute later as he took the ball off the Loughrea man’s toe following a parry of a low Duffy effort.
Hoban tested the netminder once more with a tame header on the quarter hour mark as The Lilywhites dominated the opening exchanges.
Their pressure paid off in the 16th minute as a throw in from Sean Gannon was knocked back to him by Daniel Kelly, the full back swung over a deep cross and Michael Duffy drove the ball low into the corner of the Cork net to open the scoring.
The game settled down into a prolonged period of Dundalk launching a constant stream of attacks, repelled by the resolute City back four until a foul by Whitmarsh O Brien on Shields saw the young forward booked and Cork advanced from their defensive slumber to pressure the Lilywhite backline and force a number of defensive mistakes.
From a foul by Sean Hoare on the lively Daire O’Connor, McGlade’s delivery just evaded Joe Redmond but Dundalk remained on the back foot for the remainder of the half and the overlapping Hurley was unlucky to see O’Brien Whitmarsh stumble at the crucial moment and fail to connect with the full back’s cross.
Cork succumbed to a second concession close the half time interval on Friday and it was almost the same again but unlike Graham Burke, Daniel Cleary couldn’t convert, and the gap remained at one at the interval.
Dundalk dominated the opening exchanges in the second half with Bossin acrobatically clawing a header out of the top corner within the first five minutes.
Dylan McGlade lifted the onslaught by firing over just before the hour mark after breaking free 30 yards out. The respite was brief, however and it took a combined effort from Olowu and Ochieng to deflect a Dan Kelly cross out for a corner after Gannon had evaded the shackles of Ronan Hurley.
Buoyed by their reprieve, Cork pushed forward to press their hosts. However, this merely left gaps in their rearguard and Hurley fouled the galloping Dan Kelly in the City box. Pat Hoban converted the penalty high to Bossin’s right to leave it 2-0 on 63 minutes.
Two became three within the space of a few minutes as Jordan Flores smashed an effort into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area and was promptly replaced in front of a crowd of 2243.
A fourth was nearly in the offing soon after as Hoban hooked over a cross from Darragh Leahy. Joe Redmond then prevented Hoban netting from close range while Dan Kelly poked a Duffy cross over the bar as the clock entered the final ten minutes.
The winger was close again following another Leahy delivery as Cork tried to contain Vinny Perth’s for the final few minutes.
It has been a tough start to the season for Neale Fenn whose side host Finn Harps on Friday in a game which you feel carries real significance despite the embryonic nature of the season.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers ; Daniel Cleary , Sean Gannon , Sean Hoare , Darragh Leahy ; Michael Duffy (Lido Lotefa 87) , Jordan Flores (Greg Sloggett 68) , Daniel Kelly , Chris Shields , Cammy Smith (Will Patching 71) ; Patrick Hoban .
Subs not used: Andy Boyle, Brian Gartland, Dane Massey, Aaron McCarey.
Sent off: None.
Cork City: Liam Bossin ; Ronan Hurley , Joseph Olowu , Joe Redmond , Kyron Stabana ; Dylan McGlade , Alec Byrne , Gearoid Morrissey (Dale Holland 83), Daire O'Connor (Cory Galvin 71) , Henry Ochieng ; Beineon O'Brien Whitmarsh (Cian Murphy 87) .
Subs not used: Mark McNulty, Charlie Fleming, Reyon Dillon, Rob Slevin.
Booked: Beineon O'Brien Whitmarsh (33).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul McLoughlin.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Jordan Flores (Dundalk).