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Conor emerges as Cork favourite 48 hours after attending funeral of 'good mate' Ryan McBride

The Louth native was superb in City’s 2-1 win over Dundalk.

Conor McCormack and Patrick McEleney Dundalk's Patrick McEleney is tackled by Cork City's Conor McCormack. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

KARL SHEPPARD’S BRACE deservedly earned him the man-of-the-match award, but Conor McCormack was the talk of Turner’s Cross yesterday evening in the aftermath of Cork City’s victory over Dundalk.

McCormack, who joined City over the winter, delivered an excellent performance as the Leesiders recorded a 2-1 win to move six points clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Until this weekend, the 26-year-old midfielder had only been used in defence by Cork City since his move from Derry City, playing at centre-half in last month’s President’s Cup triumph against Dundalk and at right-back thereafter.

However, he returned to more familiar territory in front of the back four yesterday after being tasked with a man-marking job on Dundalk playmaker Patrick McEleney, whose influence on the game was curbed by a disciplined display from McCormack.

Patrick McEleney and Conor McCormack protest with referee Paul Tuite Patrick McEleney and Conor McCormack played together at Derry City. Source: Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Hailing from Carlingford, just 25 kilometres up the road from Dundalk, McCormack says yesterday’s win was no more important than any other, in spite of the fact that it gives John Caulfield’s side a substantial lead after just six rounds of games.

“It’s always great to beat Dundalk but the most important thing was that we got three points. It’s massive but the way we look at it is that it’s just another three points, just another game,” McCormack said.

“We’re not bothered about Dundalk. Let Dundalk do whatever they want to do. We’re just concentrating on winning every game and hopefully then at the end of the year we’ll be right up there.”

Following the untimely death of Derry City captain Ryan McBride, McCormack admitted that the past week has been difficult. The former Manchester United youth team player was a team-mate of McBride’s during his time in Derry.

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Conor McCormack and Ryan McBride Conor McCormack embracing Ryan McBride after Derry City's game against St Pat's in May of last year. Source: INPHO/Donall Farmer

“I played with him for 18 months,” said McCormack, who made the 900-kilometre Cork-Derry round trip on Thursday to attend Ryan McBride’s funeral.

“He wasn’t only a team-mate of mine but one of my good mates as well up there. It was very hard for a few of us, like everyone in the football community in the League of Ireland.

“All respect to him, he was as hard as nails. Everyone wanted him in their team. He was a great leader and a great captain. It was hard for us. I went up for the funeral on Thursday so there was an awful lot of travelling up and down, but I had to pay my respect to him.”

– First published 18.00

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