Billy Dennehy 17' -
The hosts played some breathtaking football in the opening half, and might have taken the lead after just seven minutes. After Denis Behan had steered Colin Healy’s ball Dennehy’s way, the wide-man saw a decent effort drop narrowly wide of Galway keeper Barry Ryan’s far post.
At the other end, the defence spared Cork custodian Dan Connor’s blushes following an unconvincing attempt to come out for a cross, but three minutes later the home side took the lead. Colin Healy played Fahrudin Kuduzovic in on the right wing and his cut-back evaded Behan but landed invitingly at the feet of Dennehy who calmly placed his shot into the roof of the net to score his third goal of the season.
Dennehy and Behan both came close with half-chances before Joe Gamble forced Ryan to make a full-stretch save. Kuduzovic fizzed the ball across the visiting back line before Gamble struck, with the ball eventually hacked away for a corner kick.
Behan came close twice late in the half, drawing another save from Ryan before hitting a powerful effort wide from just outside the area.
Galway switched to 4-3-3 and started the second-half in a determined fashion, and they were unlucky to see Vinny Faherty’s overhead kick go wide four minutes in. Guthrie had the Cork defence in a panic with a free in from the right minutes later, but Connor was alert to push the ball out for a corner.
After the early blitz, the game diminished as a spectacle with Cork seemingly content to sit back on their lead. Behan cut a disconsolate figure up front, frequently isolated, while Kuduzovic made little meaningful impact on proceedings. Galway, for their part poured forward in attack and hounded the home defence when not in possession.
The atmosphere became tense as Cork’s play became casual, and the work-rate of the Galway front three forced Murphy and O’Sullivan into making several particularly poor passes. As the home team dropped deeper, Galway began to lay siege to Cork area but unfortunately carved out little by way of clear-cut chances.
Behan had a good effort fly narrowly over after a questionable shoulder charge on his marker 14 minutes from time, and again came close moments later having been teed-up by Joe Gamble. For the most part though, it was one-way traffic as the game edged towards full time. Galway forced a succession of corners later in the half, but ultimately Cork held on to secure another three points
Cork City: Dan Connor; Danny Murphy, Greg O’Halloran, Dan Murray, Pat Sullivan; Colin Healy, Joe Gamble, Shane Duggan, Billy Dennehy; Denis Behan, Fahrudin Kuduzovic Not used: Guntars Siligailis, Cillian Lordan, Mark McNulty, Timmy Kiely, Alan O’Connor.
Booked: Murray (13) Goals: Dennehy (16)
Galway United:Barry Ryan; Iarfhlaith Daveron, Garry Breen, Shane Guthrie, Seamus Conneely; Jay O’Shea, John Russell (Declan Edwards, 73), David Cooke, Michael McGrath, Derek O’Brien (Jason Molloy, 87); Vinny Faherty Not used: Simon Walsh, Levi Tierney, Liam McKenna.
Referee : Neil Doyle
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: No question about it, Billy Dennehy was the star of the show for Cork and deserved his goal. Always willing to run at the visiting defence, his intelligent movement provided a vital outlet in the second-half when his team were forced on the back foot by a resurgent Galway. Seamus Conneely is a promising prospect and starred in unfancied NUI Galway’s recent run to the Collingwood Cup final, but here was given a roasting by left winger. City played a lot of quick diagonal ball out to the left wing, and Dennehy rarely disappointed. When Conneely stood off Dennehy was happy to run past him, and when he got tight, Dennehy contested gamely and made his marker look foolish on more than one occasion. Cork may have lost Liam Kearney to rivals Derry City, but in Dennehy they may well have unearthed a diamond.