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Captain fantastic Sheppard nets brace as Cork go top after hard-fought victory

The reigning champions were made to sweat by Derry City today.

Cork’s Karl Sheppard celebrates scoring a goal.
Cork’s Karl Sheppard celebrates scoring a goal.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Cork City 4

Derry City 2

Denis Hurley reports from Turner’s Cross 

CORK CITY MOVED back to the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division as they beat Derry City at Turner’s Cross on Monday afternoon, but the champions were made to sweat.

In front of 3,865 people, two goals from stand-in captain Karl Sheppard, in the seventh and 46th minutes, had the Rebel Army in a comfortable position. However, having conceded just one home league goal all season before this, they conceded two in five minutes as Ronan Curtis and Ronan Hale netted for the Candystripes.

Parity was fleeting though, as, after a foul on Garry Buckley, Kieran Sadlier sent the free kick over the wall and beyond the dive of Gerard Doherty for his 11th league goal of the season, and Graham Cummins secured the win late on with his 11th.

Knowing a win would put them above Dundalk, City had a great start as Sheppard, in for suspended skipper Conor McCormack, headed home a Cummins cross early on. There were other half-chances for Jimmy Keohane and Cummins as Cork had the better of the first half, Derry’s best effort fired over by Aaron McEneff.

When Sheppard side-footed home from Garry Buckley’s through ball within 28 seconds of the second half starting, they were cruising, but Derry continued to press and they got their reward. They had a goal back on 65 when Rory Patterson flicked on a Doherty goal kick to Curtis, who marked his final appearance before joining Portsmouth with a low drive beyond Mark McNulty.

They were level four minutes later when Jack Doyle’s cross from the left wasn’t dealt with by the home defence and the ball fell to Hale at the back post, his drive high to the net making it 2-2.

The hosts were rattled, but they composed themselves and Sadlier restored the lead before Cummins wrapped things up on 83. The centre-forward got on the end of a McNulty clearance and headed over Doherty, reacting when the ball hit the crossbar to nod in from a yard.

CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan, Conor McCarthy, Seán McLoughlin, Shane Griffin (Danny Kane 73); Jimmy Keohane, Barry McNamee (Josh O’Hanlon 77); Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley, Kieran Sadlier; Graham Cummins (Aaron Barry 86).

DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty; Jamie McDonagh, Eoin Toal, Gavin Peers (Niall Logue 61), Jack Doyle; Rory Hale, Darren Cole, Rory Hale; Ronan Hale, Rory Patterson, Ronan Curtis.

Referee: Robert Hennessy (Clare).

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Denis Hurley

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