Dylan O’Connell reports from Turner’s Cross
High-flying Bohemians narrowed the gap to second-place Dundalk to a point on Sunday afternoon thanks to a 1-0 win over Cork City at Turner’s Cross.
A goal from Andre Wright in the fourth minute was enough for the visitors as Keith Long’s side made it four wins from six games so far this season.
City, who came into this game bottom of the table on goal difference, handed 18-year-old Uniss Kargbo his first league start after impressing against Mayfield United and Midleton in the Munster Senior Cup.
Stephen McGuinness started in goal for the Gypsies with James Talbot named on the bench as the shot-stopper continues his battle to return to full fitness.
Neat footwork and a curling ball from Danny Grant led to the opening goal as his curling shot was parried by Mark McNulty and fell to Wright, who neatly tapped the ball in.
City had a great opportunity to equalise when a cross by Alec Byrne fell to the head of Joseph Olowu, however, an alert and commanding McGuinness caught and cleared from danger.
Deshane Dalling was next to try and undo the Bohemians defence, but his attempt was easily gathered by the Bohemians goalkeeper.
In recent years, the road to Cork had been a trouble path for Bohemians. Just two league wins in eleven years have seen the Rebel Army build a near hoodoo over their Dublin rivals.
Even when City struggled in 2019, they ground out a 2-0 win and 0-0 draw against the Phibsboro side.
The early goal is exactly what was needed to relax and forget about any recent struggles on Leeside as they soon dominated possession.
Former City defender Dan Casey nearly doubled the visitors lead after he had a headed ball loop over from a Grant corner.
Wright set Grant through on goal with an excellent through ball but, despite neat footwork from the winger in a crowded City penalty area, his cross was over hit and rolled out of play.
The second saw improvement for City. Winger Deshane Dalling carried their attack wide with Alex Byrne and Cian Murphy near-constantly pressing the Bohemians back four.
Bohemians fell back, in a set up that left Grant, Wright and Dawson Devoy up front to press Henry Ochieng, Alan Bennett, and Joseph Olowu in the City rearguard.
Wright had the first real chance of the second half as he floated a ball inches wide into the Joe Delaney Road Stand.
The high press by Murphy led to City’s best chance of the game when he blocked a clearance by McGuiness and the ball looped back towards goal, only to drop into the St Anne’s Stand.
Into the final 20 minutes and Bohemians superiority was clear. The defensive partnership of Casey and Rob Cornwall were excellent into forcing City’s attack wide and as the home side attempted to break.
Andy Lyons and Anto Breslin were there without fail to run the ball out of play and away from any real danger.
Centre back Olowu, who is on loan from Arsenal in the Premier League, got a fine lesson in defending from former Republic of Ireland international Alan Bennett.
Facing a quick-footed and free-flowing Bohemians attack, the two were constantly closing down Grant and Wright, which meant they were forced to shoot from range.
JJ Lunney was excellent from this position, with the power of the midfielder’s shot each time nearly beating McNulty in goal.
In the closing moments Corey Galvin tried his luck from range but McGuinness once again saved, while in added time Dalling miscued a from close range and Bohemians saw out the win.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Alan Bennett, Henry Ochieng, Dylan McGlade (Daire O’Connor 67), Cian Coleman, Alec Byrne (Corey Galvin 72), Kevin O’Connor, Deshane Dalling, Joseph Olowu, Cian Murphy, Uniss Kargbo.
Subs not used: Liam Bossin (gk), Rob Slevin, Ronan Hurley, Ricardo Dinanga, Cian Bargary.
Booked: Joseph Olowu (30), Uniss Kargbo (63), Kevin O’Connor (87).
Bohemians: Stephen McGuiness, Andy Lyons, Anto Breslin, Dan Casey, Rob Cornwall, JJ Lunney, Dawson Devoy (Keith Ward 75), Kris Twardek, Keith Buckley, Andre Wright (Dinny Corcoran 75), Danny Grant.
Subs not used: James Talbot (gk), Ciaran Kelly, Michael Barker, Promise Omochere, Conor Levingston.
Booked: Andy Lyons (61), Keith Buckley (84).
Referee: Sean Grant.
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Andre Wright (Bohemians).