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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 16 November, 2018
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Good evening, everyone. So, is this the last-chance saloon for Dundalk or have they already finished up for the night, got some chips on the way home and fallen asleep on the couch?

It already looks like the Leesiders have an unassailable lead at the top of the table. But…

Source: parkinpants/YouTube

Here’s how both teams will line up tonight.

Match referee is Paul McLaughlin.

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DUNDALK: Rogers, Gannon, Barrett, Shields, Duffy, McMillan, McGrath, McEleney, Massey (c), Benson, Vemmelund.

CORK CITY: McNulty, Bennett (c), Dunleavy, Delaney, Keohane, McCormack, Dooley, O’Connor, Morrissey, Sheppard, Maguire.

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KICK OFF!

Up and running here and within seconds Maguire almost puts Cork in front. The away side incredibly quick to put their mark down.

Still scoreless after 10 minutes here. With the exception of Maguire’s opportunity after about eight seconds, it’s been pretty cagey.

Ooooh. A decent opportunity for the home side. It’s McMillan who does well but the effort flashes across the six-yard area and there’s no team-mate in there to get a touch on it.

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That is a lovely, lovely goal and, after missing a chance immediately from kick-off, Maguire makes little mistake this time.

Sheppard and Dooley combined well in the build-up and the striker did the rest. 19 minutes gone and City in control.

30 minutes on the clock and City are the better team here. They very nearly doubled their lead a short time ago when a header from an in-swinging corner was cleared for the line.

40 minutes gone and City have been knocking on the door in the last while. Maguire went close again after Jimmy Keohane sent in the cross but the shot went narrowly wide. Shortly after, they forced a couple of corners in quick succession but Dundalk survived.

Maguire was on the receiving end of some abuse after scoring against his former side. This was the response.

Cork City's Sean Maguire celebrates scoring Source: Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy/INPHO

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BOOKING! Paddy Barrett is dished a yellow card for an over-zealous challenge on goalscorer Maguire.

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BOOKING! And following Barrett into Paul McLoughlin’s notebook is City’s Ryan Delaney. Half-time whistle is imminent.

Paul Dollery reports from Oriel Park

Cork City are 45 minutes away from opening up an 18-point lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division thanks to Sean Maguire’s 14th goal of the season.

Maguire put the visitors in front on 19 minutes against Dundalk after being teed up by Karl Sheppard, but the same passage of play almost had the visitors in front with just 10 seconds on the clock. However, after City went long straight from the kick-off, Maguire’s first-time effort from close range struck the side netting.

Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Dundalk sought to put the Leesiders under pressure early on. David McMillan saw a shot drift wide after latching onto a stray Johnny Dunleavy header in the fourth minute. Nine minutes later, McEleney played McMillan through with a delightful pass but the Lilywhites’ in-form striker could only shoot across the face of Mark McNulty’s goal from a difficult angle.

But City soon settled into the game and assumed a measure of control. Following a scrappy passage of play on the edge of the Dundalk box, Stephen Dooley was able to find Sheppard in space wide on the right. The former Shamrock Rovers attacker sent in a low cross and Maguire was on hand to convert from inside the six-yard box.

From there, Dundalk lost their composure and were frequently careless in possession. Buoyed by Maguire’s opener, City were keen to capitalise. Ryan Delaney forced Gary Rogers to save his header from a Dooley corner, before Sheppard and Gearoid Morrissey both missed the target with long-range attempts.

Dundalk eventually managed to get forward, only for Jamie McGrath to fail to find a colleague with a cross from the left. Just after the half-hour mark, another City break allowed Jimmy Keohane to find Maguire with a cross but the SSE Airtricity League’s leading goalscorer sent his half-volley wide.

Dundalk did have a chance to equalise on the stroke of half-time. After Michael Duffy’s free-kick went out for a corner via the Cork City wall, the former Celtic winger found Dane Massey with his delivery. Despite being unmarked, however, the Dundalk skipper headed wide when he really should have tested McNulty.

If the second half doesn’t see a much-improved display from the hosts, the gap at the top of the table could be 18 points by the time Cork City head back down the M8 tonight.”

We’re back underway at Oriel Park.

Two very interested spectators here, by the way.

Republic of Ireland manager Marin O'Neill and assistant mangager Roy Keane watch the game Source: Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Chance for Dundalk as Vemmelund rises highest to win the header and power it towards goal. But McNulty does well to make the save.

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BOOKING! An hour gone here and Sean Gannon is the latest man to pick up a yellow card. City still lead courtesy of that Sean Maguire goal after 19 minutes.

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Well, that appears to be it for City and surely the league title too? A win moves them 18 points clear of Dundalk and it’s Maguire on the double tonight. John Dunleavy conjures a pretty ingenious piece of thinking with a throw-in, gets the cross in and the striker makes it 2-0.

Dundalk had hinted at getting back in this prior to Maguire’s second. Robbie Benson saw one blistering effort tipped over the bar by McNulty.

But, Maguire – with Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane watching – has shown his poaching prowess again tonight.

3,643 is the attendance at Oriel Park tonight.

This is pretty clinical by City now. In control, points are in the bag and they will see out the remaining few minutes. 18 points clear…Incredible.

Sean Maguire, inevitably, has been voted as tonight’s Man of the Match.

Maguire now has 16 goals for the season and this game was all about his finishing and City’s expert control.

It never looked in doubt and the side’s steely resolve continues. You’d almost expect a team this far ahead to trip up occasionally. But here, against their closest rivals, they remained determined and dogged. A real zeal and polish to this Cork City outfit and they seem unstoppable.

Thanks for staying with us tonight. Plenty of coverage from the other games, and Paul Dollery’s match report, on the site momentarily.

About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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