Dylan O'Connell reports from Turner's Cross
Cork City booked their place in the second round of the Extra.ie FAI Cup on Tuesday night with a last grasp extra-time win over Longford Town at Turners Cross.
351 days since Neale Fenn swapped the red and black for the green, white, and red of the Rebel Army, Ricardo Dinanga cut inside to curl a sensational strike into the roof of the net to book Fenn’s side’s place in the next round.
Cian Coleman captained Cork City for the first time since returning to the club from St. Patricks Athletic in November 2019. The last time he wore a captain’s armband at Turner’s Cross was in the winter of 2016 against HJK Helsinki and AS Roma in the UEFA Youth League.
Tonight’s cup clash was the fourth meeting between the clubs in the FAI Cup in five seasons. The first three occasions all saw victories for the Rebel Army, on years they reached the final at the Aviva Stadium. Previously they had met in the 2007 final, which City won 1-0, and the 2006 second round, which Longford won 2-1.
Longford came to Cork looking for their first win on Leeside since October 2015. That night Stephen Rice, David O’Sullivan, and Kevin O’Connor gave Longford the three points in front of a lively Turners Cross.
Cian Murphy was very impressive upfront for the Rebel Army. The Tipperary native, who also plays for the Republic of Ireland at u18 level was constantly hunting down balls and plaguing the Longford back four.
He was almost rewarded for his efforts after ten minutes when he had a stinging shot shot clawed on the line by Luke Dennison.
Dylan McGlade combined brilliantly with Cian Bargary to set the forward through. He cut inside and unleashed a powered low shot at the Longford goal, which Dennison clamoured on the line to safety.
Dylan Grimes and Rob Manley tried to force a chance after dispossessing Kevin O’Connor in the centre of the park.
As the Longford pair charged at the converging City back four, Cummins and Joseph Olowu swarmed the pair and cleared. Later in the half Manley forced an excellent low save from Liam Bossin after shooting from close range.
Attacker turned defender Cummins, in his first game back for the Rebel Army from Waterford FC, was a near constant attacking threat from set pieces. Just minutes after having a long-range attempt blocked by Joe Gorman, he had a header from point blank range gathered by Dennison.
A mismatch in the City back line led to an interception by Aaron McNally who went through onto goal.
In what looked like banker from the Longford forward to score, Bossin charged out and cleared the danger.
Longford started the second half well. Neat passing play played Manley into space. As he steadied himself Henry Ocheing swarmed the attacker and the ball rolled to safety. There were shouts for a penalty a few minutes later after a free kick by Gorman bobbed around inside the area, but referee Ray Matthews waved the game on. Gorman pestered the City back four with a succession of shots from outside the box, but the physicality and positioning of Cummins and Olowu put him off and he shot wide eventually.
Both sides made substitutions to keep energy levels high in the second half. Charlie Fleming and Dale Holland were brought on for the Rebel Army while Longford brought on Dean Zambra and Callum Warfield. The four definitely gave an injection of pace into the game after it looked to have slumbered in the summer heat.
Longford were handed a serious advantage for the final ten minutes when Cummins saw red for a last stitch tackle on Warfield.
The longer the half went on, the more Longford established themselves on the game. Matthew O’Brien forced himself into an acre of space, facing the St Annes End and his powerful shot was swallowed by the arm of Bossin.
Aodh Dervin did well to play Aaron McNally outside and with all the space and time to work the ball, the Longford man’s shot was low and into the hands of Bossin.
In extra-time City regained control over the game. McGlade was fantastic pushing wide and creating space. Substitute Rob Slevin found an unmarked Kevin O’Connor inside the area, who volleyed a shot over.
Niall Barnes was unlucky after twisting into space to face the St Annes as his shot was weak and bobbled wide.
After a barrage of City chances in extra-time, Dinanga broke forward to snatch the winner. Using his physique, he cut inside and danced through to curl a ball into the roof of the net and out of the reach of Dennison.
Cork City: Liam Bossin, Henry Ochieng, Dylan McGlade, Cian Coleman, Daire O’Connor (Dale Holland 69), Ronan Hurley (Ricardo Dinanga 77), Kevin O’Connor, Graham Cummins, Joseph Olowu (Alan Bennett 110), Cian Murphy (Rob Slevin 90), Cian Bagary (Charlie Fleming 45).
Subs not used: Mark McNulty,Luke Desmond.
Booking: Ricardo Dinanga (94).
Sent-off: Graham Cummins (78).
Longford Town: Luke Dennison, Shane Elwothy (Niall Barnes 80’), Dylan Grimes (Aaron McCabe 60’), Rob Manley (Callum Warfield 65’), Sam Verdon (Dean Zambra 65’), Aodh Dervin, Matthew O’Brien, Karl Chambers, Aaron McNally, Joe Manley, Joe Gorman.
Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Dylan Hand, Eric Abulu.
Referee: Ray Matthews
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Ricardo Dinanga (Cork City).