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Cork City steam three points clear as late Buckley strike devastates Drogs

John Caulfield’s side kept their sixth clean sheet in a row and have now established a nice cushion ahead of Dundalk.

Garry Buckley appreciates a good badge when he feels one.
Garry Buckley appreciates a good badge when he feels one.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Drogheda United 0-1 Cork City

IT WAS A CASE of job done for Cork City at United Park, as John Caulfield’s men had a late intervention from Garry Buckley to thank for sending them three points clear of the top of the SSE Airtricity League.

Until Garry Buckley’s 81st minute winner, it looked like Cork would have to settle for going just one point clear, ahead of Dundalk’s visit to Tallaght Stadium on Sunday. Even one point was never secure, with Drogheda posing plenty of problems of their own.

Cork’s sensational defensive record of late remained intact throughout however, they have not conceded a goal in almost 600 minutes of league football, and when Buckley struck, a Drogheda equaliser seemed a momentous task.

Mark O’Sullivan, the league’s player of the month for June, has scored three of their last five goals, but couldn’t find the net tonight. In reserve, Caulfield summoned new signings Cillian Morrison and John O’Flynn from the bench but to little effect. Thankfully, when Buckley volleyed home after Drogheda failed to clear their lines, their lack of impact failed to tell.

Even a draw for Drogheda would have represented a credible result, but while they narrowly miss out, they stay in ninth and in touch with midtable. After last week’s win in Bray brought to an end a wretched league run that extended back to April, almost holding the league leaders here will be a further boost to caretaker boss Darius Kierans amid further talk of new managerial appointments at United Park.

Cork, with their objective for tonight known to all, started the stronger with brothers Billy and Darren Dennehy taking turns to shoot at goal from long range. The closest the Leesiders came to making the breakthrough came when O’Sullivan rose to meet a John Dunleavy cross but while his header was low and accurate, Micheal Schlingermann was equal to it and produced a smart save.

Off the crossbar

Gavin Brennan and Carl Walshe threatened as Drogheda grew into the game and that was a momentum continued into the second half. The home side dominated and looked the far more dangerous of the two sides. Lone frontman Gary O’Neill excelled, displaying tenacity and strength throughout whilst last week’s matchwinner Gavan Holohan was key once again.

Holohan produced the second half’s best moment when he crashed a shot against the crossbar after good play from Walshe and O’Neill.

O’Flynn, Morrison and Liam Kearney were introduced by Cork in a bid to press the issue and the latter did set up their best chance of the half, crossing for Josh O’Shea who somehow contrived to volley over from six yards out. That was until Buckley struck his sixth goal of the season to secure all three points.

Cork go top for the time being and can look forward to a first home game in three weeks against UCD next Friday.

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Gavin Holohan and Josh O'Shea Drogheda's Gavin Holohan and Josh O'Shea of Cork City. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DROGHEDA UNITED: Micheal Schlingermann, Daire Doyle, Alan McNally, Mick Daly, Cathal Brady (Sean O’Connor, 73), Gavan Holohan, Stephen Maher, Gavin Brennan, Carl Walshe, Gary O’Neill (Declan O’Brien, 74).

Substitutes: Dylan Connolly, Sean O’Connor, Ciaran O’Connor, Paul Crowley, Dale Harding, Fionn Reilly, Declan O’Brien.

CORK CITY: Mark Nulty, Brian Lenihan, John Dunleavy, Darren Dennehy, Colin Healy, Gavin Kavanagh (Liam Kearney, 51), Billy Dennehy, Dave O’Leary (John O’Flynn, 67), Mark O’Sullivan, Garry Buckley, Josh O’Shea (Cillian Morrison, 60).

Substitutes: John Kavanagh, John O’Flynn, Cillian Morrison, Danny Morrissey, Michael McSweeney, Kevin O’Brien, Liam Kearney.

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin)

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