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Dublin: 18 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

Cork bounce back from tough week to kickstart John Cotter era with a win

A Conor McCarthy goal earned the Leesiders a 1-0 win over Bohemians.

James Tilley of Cork challenges Bohs' Kevin Devaney.
James Tilley of Cork challenges Bohs' Kevin Devaney.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Bohemians 0

Cork City 1

Gavin Cooney reports from Dalymount Park 

LESS A NEW manager bounce than a hunkering down for Cork City, but a tenacious defensive display and a headed Conor McCarthy goal was enough to start the John Cotter era with a win. 

It is Cork’s first league win since beating Bohemians at Turner’s Cross back in March, – and to give an idea as to just how long ago that is – that win was rooted in a misty era in which the Irish football public knew nothing of Mazars, Executive Vice-Presidents and bridging loans. 

For all the change those remarkable events will bring…tonight Cork found form by going back to basics.

They defended deeply for long stretches with Conor McCormack impressive at the base of their midfield, shackling Danny Mandroiu effectively. They were happy to roll with the punches and try to make effective the few they would throw. 

That ploy worked, with Conor McCarthy’s first-half header rolling past James Talbot to give them a lead they didn’t lose.

That the PA system accidentally gave us a second’s worth of incongruous music in the eighth minute summed up a scrappy start strewn with fouls, errors and clumsy touches.

Bohs gradually came to own possession with Cork defending competently, if not always confidently.

Dan Casey sliced an easy clearance behind himself for a corner, and then did well to clear under his own crossbar after a tame Danny Grant cross inexplicably evaded both Sean McLoughlin and Mark McNulty. 

Then, from nowhere, City took the lead. 

James Tilley hoisted a free-kick into the penalty area for Conor McCarthy, who peeled off a couple of Bohs defenders to head the ball into Talbot’s bottom left-hand corner. 

If the goal came against the run of play, it then broke it. 

Bohs didn’t relocate their rhythm after conceding, and the game became as fitful as their performance as Cork lost Gearóid Morrissey through injury.

Although they remained happy to sit deep, Cork created the other big chance of the firt-half with Tilley’s acrobatic volley dropping over Talbot’s crossbar. Bohs, meanwhile, had a Keith Buckley effort from distance – easily gathered by McNulty – to show for their equaliser efforts.

Cork played slightly higher up the pitch at the start of the second half, and forced a series of errors from the Bohs midfield; the worst being an errant backpass that ended in Tilley forcing Talbot into a smart save low by his near post. 

Dalymount was startled from its slumber with a virtuoso Danny Grant run that was ultimately snuffed out, while a couple of minutes later he zipped by Garry Comerford and saw his cross headed over by Kevin Devaney.

By this stage Cork had again fallen deep, and Bohs struggled to break them down. Lateral passing stoked frustration from the Jodi Stand, but there were roars of approval when a pair of backheels from Grant and Corcoran clawed out some penalty area space for Derek Pender, whose shot was smothered by McNulty. 

Cork were penned into their own box, shots from Grant and Buckley failed to find their way through the thicket of bodies in front of McNulty. Dalymount grew increasingly tetchy as Cork sought to kill the game, with Karl Sheppard derided for falling to the floor with cramp.

The Bohs players weren’t inoculated from the general frustration, either: Talbot was booked for a skirmish with Graham Cummins, for which the Cork substitute picked up a yellow too. 

Bohs’ set-piece delivery was poor, with their best outlet Grant on the right-wing: his 90th-minute cross narrowly evaded a lunging Darragh Leahy in the penalty area. It was as close as the home side came to scoring, and they missed the chance to leapfrog Dundalk into second. 

It’s a soothing end to a turbulent week for Cork, which began with that draw with Finn Harps and made long by the speculation about and subsequent confirmation of John Caulfield’s departure. 

The trip down south will feel a little shorter tonight. 

Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender, James Finnerty, Michael Barker, Darragh Leahy; Keith Buckley, James Finnerty; Kevin Devaney, Danny Mandroiu, Danny Grant; Dinny Corcoran

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Sean McLoughlin, Garry Comerford; Conor McCormack, Gearóid Morrissey (Pierce Phillips 43′), Kevin O’Connor; James Tilley, Darragh Rainsford (Graha Cummins 57′), Karl Sheppard

Referee: Damian McGrath


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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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