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Lacklustre City's title hopes take a huge blow on Leeside as Derry grab a deserved point

John Caulfield’s side are now ten points behind league-leaders Dundalk.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cork City 0

Derry City 0

CORK CITY’S CHASE of Dundalk for the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title suffered what could be a mortal blow as they couldn’t overcome Derry City at Turner’s Cross on Friday night.

While John O’Flynn and sub Danny Morrissey both had good opportunities for John Caulfield’s side in the second half, O’Flynn couldn’t sufficiently test Shaun Patton and Morrissey headed wide when Steven Beattie’s cross found him in space.

With a raft of changes since the 3-0 FAI Cup defeat 11 days previously, Derry enjoyed the better of the first half and would have felt unfortunate not to be leading at half-time.

Conor McCormack was the first to test Mark McNulty in the Cork City goal and Paul Hegarty’s side played nice football from the off, frustrating their hosts. Cork did fashion a good opportunity in the ninth minute as Billy Dennehy found John O’Flynn, but his heavy touch allowed stand-in goalkeeper Patton to get off his line quickly and smother the ball, with captain Ryan McBride completing the defensive operation.

John O'Flynn John O'Flynn went close to breaking the deadlock for the hosts. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

As the half went on, Derry grew in confidence and in the 20th minute Stephen Dooley used his pace to good effect on the left before crossing for Ciarán O’Connor, whose effort was blocked by Alan Bennett.

O’Connor got another chance soon after, shooting low across goal from Barry McNamee’s through ball and then he drew a save from McNulty on 27. Dennehy and Garry Buckley did have chances for the home team before half-time and they came out for the second half with renewed vigour but couldn’t engineer a chance on the scoreboard.

Alan Bennett at the end of the game City had Alan Bennett to thank late on as his excellent block ensured a clean-sheet for the home side. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Derry sub Cillian Morrison had a great chance but his header from O’Connor’s cross drew a great save from McNulty and Alan Bennett blocked Dooley’s follow-up effort. In the dying minutes, Morrissey could have won it but his effort was off-target and City had to accept only closing the gap on Dundalk to 10 points.

CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Michael McSweeney, Alan Bennett, Dan Murray (Kevin O’Connor 74), Ross Gaynor; Liam Miller, John Dunleavy; Karl Sheppard (Danny Morrissey 85), Garry Buckley, Billy Dennehy; John O’Flynn (Steven Beattie 65).

DERRY CITY: Shaun Patton; Ben McLaughlin (Aaron McEneff 54), Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Mark Timlin, Conor McCormack, Rob Cornwall, Barry McNamee, Stephen Dooley; Ciarán O’Connor (Mark Quigley 90).

Referee: Tomás Connolly (Dublin).

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Denis Hurley

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