Billy Dennehy 57' -
Two goals in two games from super sub Billy Dennehy ensured Cork City would claim a tough earned three points against Galway United in front of 2,518 fans in Turner’s Cross tonight.
The home side enjoyed the majority of possession during the game but found it difficult to breach the Galway goal and it was left to Dennehy in the second half to get City the win finishing to the net on 57 minutes.
The Leesiders were trying to stop their recent rut of poor form which had seen them lose to Limerick and Shamrock Rovers in the league before defeating St. Patrick’s Athletic in the Irish Daily Mail Cup last Friday.
The City manager was very confident in his side’s ability during the week when he spoke to the press with John Caulfield saying “I’m expecting no excuses from us and that we will win the match.”
Galway United have been hampered by injuries in recent weeks that has cumulated in them now being involved in the dreaded relegation scrap, along with being knocked out of the Cup to current league leaders Dundalk 4-1 at home.
This defeat for the Tribesmen made it three loses against the rebel army this season, having lost 2-0 and 3-1 earlier in the campaign.
City made one change to the side that emphatically defeated St. Patrick’s Athletic in cup action las time out with Steven Beattie returning to the side, having been cup-tied the previous week, in place of Kevin O’Connor.
The visitors made three changes with Conor Winn replacing Ger Hanley between the sticks with Killian Cantwell and Jason Molloy starting in place of Conor Melody and Enda Curran.
The home side had the better of the opening chances with Sam Oji being required to stop two dangerous shots in the opening nine minutes, with Gary Buckley being denied by a last ditch block and then Beattie saw his chip headed over for a corner.
Minutes later Karl Sheppard, who yesterday signed a contract extension until 2017 (see full story here) saw his shot go over from six yards following a Buckley cross.
City were having all the possession with Galway struggling to build any momentum and often struggling to get out of their half, as Colin Healy and Liam Miller bossed the middle of the pitch.
Miller was next up to shoot but Winn was equal to his effort on 21 minutes while Ross Gaynor, who has enjoyed a recent good run of form, saw his shot flash across the goal following a corner.
In the last ten minutes of the opening period, Galway had a few opportunities to open their account with David O’Leary winning a lot of ball against his ex-club and their best chance of the half fell to Jason Molloy.
However he saw his snapshot, following a Paul Sinnott cross, go narrowly wide as both teams headed for the tunnel at the interval.
City kept up the pressure in the second half right from the off with Sheppard forcing two good saves out of Winn. Firstly the ‘keeper saved from close range following a goalmouth scramble and then Winn reacted fast to tip a Sheppard shot out for a corner.
Manager John Caulfield decided to change things up on 54 minutes, bringing on Billy Dennehy for Miller and this worked a treat three minutes later.
Cork ‘keeper Mark McNulty, who was largely a spectator for the game, kicked it out hitting Mark O’Sullivan up front who played it through for Dennehy to volley home from 12 yards.
On 65 minutes it should really have been two when Sheppard crossed to O’Sullivan but the ex-Avondale player couldn’t direct his header on goal from close range.
The remainder of the game saw City have the majority of the possession as the corner count of 11-1 at the end showed how comprehensive the Leesdiers were in possession over the course of the 90 minutes.
City fans were left thinking they had narrowed the gap to several points with Dundalk on the final whistle until news of Richie Towell’s equaliser came through meaning that it’s an eight point difference now between the sides going into City’s game on Monday at home to St. Pat’s.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Michael McSweeney, Dan Murray, Alan Bennett, Ros Gaynor; Liam Miller (Billy Dennehy 54), Colin Healy; Steven Beattie, Gary Buckley, Karl Sheppard (Liam Kearney 88); Mark O’Sullivan.
Subs not used: Alan Smith, John O’Flynn, Kevin O’Connor, Danny O’Connell, Liam Kearney, Stephen Folan.
Yellow Cards: None.
Galway United: Conor Winn; Cormac Rafferty, Sam Oji, Killian Cantwell, Colm Horgan; Gary Shaahan, Paul Sinnott, Alex Byrne, David O’Leary (Andy O’Connell 85); Gary Shanahan, Jake Keegan, Jason Molloy (Conor Melody 61).
Subs not used: Ger Hanley, Conor Barry, Antaine O’Laoi, Maurice Nugent, Aaron McConnell.
Yellow Cards: Horgan (5), O’Leary (63), Oji (75).
Referee: Sean Grant
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Steven Beattie (Cork City)