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Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 24 November 2020

Cork City match their best ever start to a season with eighth consecutive win

The league leaders got the better of Derry City in front of another bumper attendance at Turner’s Cross.

Garry Buckley celebrates scoring Gary Buckley celebrates after putting Cork City in front. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Cork City 3
Derry City 0

Paul Dollery reports from Turner’s Cross

WITH ALMOST A quarter of the 2017 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season in the books, Cork City’s bid to end their 12-year wait for a title shows no signs of faltering.

There were only a handful of empty seats at Turner’s Cross as a crowd of 5,275 saw John Caulfield’s side get the better of Derry City courtesy of goals from Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley and in-form striker Sean Maguire, while ex-Derry midfielder Conor McCormack delivered another outstanding display in front of the Leesiders’ back four.

It’s now eight wins from as many league games this season for the league leaders — their best start since 1998 — and they went in front 10 minutes before the break through Buckley. Sheppard doubled their lead after the restart, before Maguire struck his ninth goal of the season in all competitions to put his side out of reach.

It was a difficult night for Derry, who matched the home side until Buckley’s opener. Having started the season with four successive wins, the Candystripes have now suffered back-to-back defeats following the sudden death of their captain Ryan McBride last month.

Barry McNamee after being presented with a Cork City jersey with Ryan McBride on the back Derry City were presented with a Cork City shirt to commemorate the late Ryan McBride before the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Cork City were unchanged from their comfortable win over Limerick last week, with Alan Bennett retaining the captain’s armband in the absence of injured duo Johnny Dunleavy and Greg Bolger. Steven Beattie returned to the bench after a two-game hiatus.

Derry manager Kenny Shiels was forced to make two significant adjustments to the side that lost to Bray Wanderers seven days ago, with Harry Monaghan and Mikhail Kennedy coming in to replace playmaker Barry McNamee and key striker Rory Patterson.

Cork City are not accustomed to sharing possession at Turner’s Cross, but they were forced to do so for much of this first half. After Karl Sheppard headed harmlessly wide from a Stephen Dooley cross early on, Sean Maguire should have scored his ninth goal in as many games this season when he found a gap in the Derry defence. However, the striker was denied by a good save from Ger Doherty.

Derry soon settled and forced three saves from Mark McNulty during a positive 15-minute spell for the visitors. Nicky Low, Nathan Boyle and Aaron McEneff all had shots on target, but none of the three posed a significant problem for the Cork City goalkeeper.

Buoyed by a Kevin O’Connor free-kick on the half-hour mark that produced an excellent save from Doherty, Cork City eventually assumed control and found a breakthrough in the 35th minute thanks to some superb work down the left by Stephen Dooley.

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Karl Sheppard and Aaron Barry Karl Sheppard of Cork City beats Derry City's Aaron Barry to a header. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Playing against his previous club, the former Derry winger beat Lukas Schubert and cut the ball back for Garry Buckley, who provided a sublime finish from close range to give the hosts the lead and provide some relief for a frustrated home crowd.

Moments after O’Connor made a vital block on an effort from Derry’s Mikhail Kennedy, Cork City increased their lead. Gearoid Morrissey split the Derry defence with a perfect pass from just inside his own half, and Karl Sheppard made no mistake with just Doherty to beat.

McEneff was off target as Derry sought to hit straight back, before McNulty was nearly caught by the bounce of a long ball played out from the back. In the 65th minute, however, any hopes that Derry had of leaving Cork with a result were dashed.

There was more than a hint of good fortune about Sean Maguire’s 10th goal in 10 games, a run that stretches back to last season’s FAI Cup final. An attempted clearance by Conor McDermott rebounded off Nicky Low, the ball fell to Maguire and he finished emphatically.

Buckley, Morrissey and O’Connor all went close to scoring a fourth for Cork, after which McEneff rattled the crossbar with a shot from distance. It was a fingertip save from McNulty that secured another clean sheet for the hosts, as they maintained their six-point lead over Dundalk.

CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Jimmy Keohane, Ryan Delaney, Alan Bennett, Kevin O’Connor; Conor McCormack; Karl Sheppard (Steven Beattie, 76), Garry Buckley, Gearoid Morrissey (Connor Ellis, 81), Stephen Dooley (Shane Griffin, 84); Sean Maguire.

DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty; Lukas Schubert (Mark Timlin, 61), Conor McDermott, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Nicky Low, Aaron McEneff; Nathan Boyle (Josh Daniels, 61), Harry Monaghan, Ronan Curtis; Mikhail Kennedy.

Referee: Robert Harvey

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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