Simon O'Gorman reports from Turner's Cross
It was a frustrating night for Bohemians as they suffered their first defeat of 2019 at Turner’s Cross on Friday night, but two goals from their centre-backs, Conor McCarthy and Dan Casey, were enough to give a clinical Cork City their third win of the season.
After five minutes of sizing each other up and gauging the run of the firm but wet surface, both teams managed to turn this into a highly entertaining game. The early episodes of pinball turned into more focused play and as the play loosened up chances began to fall.
Danny Mandroiu was the first to make an attempt on goal, but the Bohs midfielder couldn’t have directed his 20-yarder any higher over the City crossbar.
Both teams, though, were creating pressure on their opponents and while Mandroiu offered a threatening presence in behind striker Dinny Corcoran, City were starting to make progress down their flanks with Shane Griffin and Daire O’Connor both creating moments of excitement for the home fans.
Bohs keeper James Talbot just about scooped O’Connor’s well placed effort round his post on 16 minutes and at the other end Mandroiu came closer with a drive from the edge of the City box on 21 minutes.
The breakthrough came on 29 minutes when Griffin’s powerful run down City’s left forced a corner, and O’Connor’s superb delivery from the corner found the head of Conor McCarthy who headed home from close range.
Bohemians might have levelled when Buckley put Mandroiu clear with a diagonal ball but the midfielder’s shot screwed wide of Mark McNulty’s goal.
City held their lead to the half-time break but lost chief playmaker Daire O’Connor to what looked like a dislocated shoulder moments before the break.
Despite this setback City extended their lead just five minutes into the second period. A scrappy opening period came to an end when Danny Grant fouled substitute James Tilley 20 yards from goal, and when Tilley touched the free to Dan Casey the City centre back’s powerful shot swerved in front of James Talbot, utterly deceiving the Bohs keeper and nestling in the back of the visitors’ net.
Bohemians responded well to the setback, drilling forward at every opportunity. But the home side looked happy to soak up any pressure thrown at them, content to break quickly whenever possession came their way.
As the half developed City solidified, gradually choking Bohemians’ attempts to get back into the game. The excitement faded, as City’s own intent on goal dulled and we entered a period of inconclusive midfield play.
Bohemians needed a break and had Keith Ward made better use of a free on the edge of the City box after 78 minutes they might have got it. They might also have sneaked a goal when a moment of defensive misjudgment showed Luke Wade-Slater a clear sight of goal four minutes from the end, but a crunching block from Conor McCormack extinguished that chink of light.
Nor were four minutes of added time enough for Bohs to turn around their fortunes. In the end it was a frustrating night for Keith Long’s side, as they conceded their unbeaten start to 2019, but City deserved the points, taking their chances when they came and shutting down Bohemians when they needed to.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan, Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack, Gearoid Morrissey (Garry Comerford 89); Karl Sheppard (Kevin O’Connor 89), Garry Buckley, Daire O’Connor (James Tilley 43); Graham Cummins.
Subs not used: David Harrington (gk), Liam Nash, Dan Smith, Darragh Rainsford.
Booked: McCormack (29).
Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender, Darragh Leahy, Rob Cornwall, James Finnerty; Keith Buckley (Robbie McCourt 76), Conor Levingston, Daniel Mandroiu (Ryan Swan 66), Daniel Grant (Luke Wade-Slater 58), Keith Ward; Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Niall Corbet (gk), Patrick Kirk, Andy Lyons, Ali Reghba.
Booked: Corcoran (84).
Referee: Robert Hennessy.
Extratime Man of the Match: Conor McCormack (Cork City).