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John McVitty/INPHO Cork City player Garry Buckley scores the game's only goal.
# Report
Cork close in on Premier Division title after hard-fought win in Ballybofey
Garry Buckley’s 70th-minute goal helped earn John Caulfield’s side all three points.

Finn Harps 0

Cork City 1

Chris McNulty reports from Finn Park

CORK CITY MOVED a step closer to popping the champagne as Garry Buckley’s 70th-minute goal handed the Leesiders a narrow win in Ballybofey.

Relegation-threatened Finn Harps made John Caulfield’s side earn their corn, but Buckley struck with 20 minutes to go as Cork opened up a 17-point lead at the top of the Premier Division table — and moved to within five points of the title

Steven Beattie picked up possession after a Cork corner was cleared, before Ryan Delaney’s header hit the post from his team-mate’s delivery, but Buckley beat Ciaran Gallagher to the rebound to score the winner.

Cork haven’t scored in the first half of a league fixture since Sean Maguire left for Preston and Harps’ goalkeeper made sure that sequence continued.

Gallagher superbly tipped over from Kieran Sadlier’s testing drive, while the stopper was relieved when a Jimmy Keohane header dropped to the far side of its intended target.

Gearoid Morrissey failed to hit the target with an earlier header, while Sadlier had more time than he imagined as he drilled wide from 20 yards during a period when a Cork opener appeared inevitable.

Harps were stung 4-0 at St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night, but were able to recall Paddy McCourt and ex-Cork striker Danny Morrissey to the starting XI this evening.

Sean Houston had a couple of openings for the hosts in the first half, but Mark Timlin will feel he could have done better when he carved out a chance in the 65th minute. The Buncrana man curled wide of the top corner, after good work from sub Ibrahim Keita.

Just as Harps dared to dream, Buckley intervened with the game’s only goal, before Gallagher saved from Sadlier to prevent Cork claiming a second.

Buckley then squandered a glorious chance to put the game out of sight, as he rifled over a gaping goal in added time.

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty, Kilian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll; Mark Timlin (Pascal Millien 79), Tommy McBride (Jonny Bonner 87), Paddy McCourt, Sean Houston, Gareth Harkin; Danny Morrissey (Ibrahim Keita 63).

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Alan Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack, Gearoid Morrissey; Jimmy Keohane, Garry Buckley, Kieran Sadlier (Connor Ellis 88); Karl Sheppard

Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).

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