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Cork City lay down huge marker in bid to win First Division title

Colin Healy’s side beat Longford Town 4-1 at Turner’s Cross.

Cork City manager Colin Healy.
Cork City manager Colin Healy.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Cork City 4

Longford Town 1

THE FULL-TIME SCORE may flatter them, but not many of the 2,337 crowd at Turner’s Cross will care about that as Cork City laid down a huge marker in their bid to win the First Division title as they defeated Longford Town 4-1 on Friday night.

Longford opened the scoring through Sam Verdon but a Barry Coffey brace, a sensational strike from Darragh Crowley, and an own goal were enough to see City claim a significant victory against their promotion rivals which keeps them three points clear at the top of the table.

Both managers made one change from the teams they selected for their last games with Colin Healy deciding to replace Darragh Crowley with Jonas Hakkinen, while Gary Cronin selected Ryan Graydon ahead of Karl Chambers.

Both sides then proceeded to cancel each other out, although City did create the better goal-scoring opportunities in the first quarter. Ally Gilchrist and Cian Coleman, who headed home the winner away to Cobh Ramblers in the Cork derby last time out, could only nod wide of the target from excellent Matt Healy set-pieces.

Goalkeeper David Harrington almost gifted the Town the lead midway through the first period as his rushed clearance fell kindly at the feet of Eric Molloy but the young shot-stopper did well to make amends as he got down low to his left to stop the winger’s first-time effort.

City’s best chance of a tame first 42 minutes went the way of striker Cian Murphy, who was sent through on goal by a sublime pass from Ruairí Keating, but his low drive was well saved by keeper Luke Dennison,

The much-needed opening goal came on 43 minutes and it was Longford who got it when Verdon rose well and expertly headed Karl Chamber’s cross into the far bottom left corner.

But the lead only lasted four minutes as deep into injury time ,City drew level thanks to a strong hint of good fortune as Michael Barker could only direct Kevin O’Connor’s dangerous cross inside his far post on the stretch.

The Town started the second half brightly but Verdon and Molloy couldn’t bundle the ball home from close range.

And that proved decisive as City completed the turnaround in the 54th minute when Cian Bargary’s shot broke into the path of Barry Coffey, who bounced his volley into the roof of the net.

Longford continued to battle but City sealed the win in the closing stages when Coffey grabbed his second and his side’s third with a thunderous hit from close-range before Darragh Crowley added some gloss to the scoreline when his stunning his from distance crashed against the inside of the right post and found the net.

Cork City: David Harrington; Cian Coleman, Ally Gilchrist, Jonas Hakkinen (Darragh Crowley 71); Cian Bargary (James Doona 86), Matt Healy, Barry Coffey (Matt Srbely 86), Aaron Bolger, Kevin O’Connor; Ruairí Keating, Cian Murphy (Mark O’Mahony 71).

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Longford Town: Luke Dennison; Shane Elworthy, Michael Barker, Dylan Bennett, Ben Lynch; Aaron Robinson, Dean McMenamey; Ryan Graydon, Darren Craven (Karl Chambers 32), Eric Molloy (Joe Power 60); Sam Verdon.

Tonight’s other First Division results

Athlone Town 0-3 Wexford FC

Bray Wanderers 1-1 Cobh Ramblers

Treaty United 2-3 Galway United.

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