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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 17 January, 2020


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Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of tonight’s blockbuster meeting of Dundalk and Cork City in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

These two sides really have become old foes over the last four years and with Cork beating Dundalk to a potential fourth consecutive title in a row last season, it has only adding further bite to the affair this campaign.

John Caulfied’s double-winners travel to Oriel Park having not dropped a single point this season and having claimed the President’s Cup on this patch a couple of months ago.

Three games have yielded as many wins for the visitors, while Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk have taken just five points in the same time — they will want to close that gap tonight.

Like all meetings between these sides, it promises to be a brilliant affair. Good to have you along for the night!

Oriel Park lies in wait for the battle to come. Just under an hour to go before we get underway, with team news due any second now. Unlike the last time these sides met the pitch is not covered in a thick blanket of snow. No orange ball needed tonight.

A view of Oriel Park ahead of the match Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

So, today’s teams are:

Dundalk: Gary Rodgers; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Chris Shields, Daniel Cleary; Dane Massey, Michael Duffy, Jamie McGrath, Robbie Benson; Ronan Murray, Patrick Hoban.

Subs: Gabriel Sava, Dean Jarvis, Stephen Folan, Dylan Connolly, Karolis Chvedukas, Krisztian Adorjan.

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Shane Griffin, Aaron Barry, Conor McCarthy, Steven Beattie; Gearoid Morrissey, Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley; Kieran Sadlier, Karl Sheppard, Graham Cummins.

Subs: Peter Cherrie, Colm Horgan, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Sean McLoughlin, Jimmy Keohane, Michael Howard, Barry McNamee.

You do get the feeling that there will be goals tonight. Graham Cummins has enjoyed an electric start to life back at Turner’s Cross, scoring three goals in well under two games already this season.

John Caulfield warned that the striker might not replicate the form he showed while playing for the club in the First Division years ago straight away this year, but the ex-St Johnstone man has took like a duck to water to the Premier Division already.

Alongside him are two accomplished wingers in Kieran Sadlier and Karl Sheppard and at the other end of the pitch are two men who have bags of goals in their locker — Patrick Hoban and Ronan Murray for Dundalk. Defenders will certainly have their work cut out tonight.

Now then, as we approach kick-off please enjoy some pre-game reading material. Ahead of tonight’s game The42′s Paul Fennessey asks has the balance of power in Irish football shifted irrevocably between the two sides on display tonight?

“Football is cyclical. Even the greatest teams, those capable of building a dynasty, inevitably decline with time.

Between 2014 and 2016, Dundalk won three consecutive league titles. The achievement prompted comparisons with some of the best sides the League of Ireland has seen, such as the famous Shamrock Rovers ‘four-in-a-row’ team of the 1980s.

After their Europa League heroics in 2016, Stephen Kenny’s men inevitably lost key players, and their form suffered as a result.

These absences and the time it took their replacements to adapt were partially to blame for a below-par 2017, when Cork took the Oriel Park outfit’s crown, finishing seven points ahead of their rivals in the league table and denying them a fourth successive title in the process.”

Cork City forward Kieran Sadlier runs through some final warm-ups at Oriel Park. Just 10 minutes to go before we get underway!

Kieran Sadlier during the warm up Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Right then, how do we see this one going?

Poll Results:

Cork City win (76)
Dundalk win (74)
Draw (35)

It’s an absolutely electric atmosphere at Oriel Park tonight. Two top teams facing off against one another on national television in front of a packed crowd — this is how it should be. The teams are making their way out onto the pitch, with kick-off moments away now.


An early foul on Patrick Hoban from behind earns Dundalk a free-kick 30 yards out from goal. Michael Duffy curls it floating into the danger zone but its firstly headed away before being booted clear a second time by the boot of Cork City captain Conor McCormack.


Dundalk have taken the lead after just four minutes and it’s a dreadful error from Mark McNulty. A free-kick from Ronan Murray 30 yards from goal floats towards the bottom corner, McNulty parries it away first-time before Patrick Hoban poaches like a flash to stick the ball into the back of the net. What a start for the Lilywhites!


Another free-kick, almost a carbon copy of the one which led the goal, is struck from distance by Ronan Murray. And once again Mark McNulty spills it nervously to the joy of the home supporters before it’s booted clear. The Cork goalkeeper is not a popular figure among Dundalk supporters and they will only relish this opening period which has seen Cork pinned back.


It really has been an electric start to this game, frantic almost. Conor McCormack was booked in-between these early chances for Dundalk for a second rash challenge in a short space of time. A proper, tough, gritty, competitive rivalry we were promised ahead of this game, and already it seems to be delivering.


A first proper chance at goal for John Caulfield’s men sees Steven Beattie take advantage of a pocket of space outside the box. The number 10 composes himself before striking his effort just wide of Gary Rodgers’ goalposts.


Chance! Dane Massey edges forward along the lefthand side and strikes at goal low and hard. It takes a touch off the fingertips of McNulty and away for a corner kick to Dundalk.


Here’s the goal that has Dundalk 1-0 ahead tonight. Pat Hoban poaching from close range just four minutes in to punish Mark McNulty following a Ronan Murray free-kick.


Pictured: Patrick Hoban celebrates scoring for Dundalk at Oriel Park.

Dundalk v Cork City - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Source: Stephen McCarthy


Garry Buckley is the second Cork City player to receive a yellow card following a trip from behind on Chris Shields driving forward through midfield.


Another chance for Dundalk — Michael Duffy’s cross falls to Murray on the edge of the box. The striker has a go but his effort is deflected wide and over by Shane Griffin standing inches off the goal-line. Some great defending from the right back there to keep the scoreline at 1-0.


Substitution for Cork City: Barry McNamee replaces Conor McCormack.


Now that’s an interesting change. John Caulfield takes off his captain, perhaps for fear of receiving another yellow card and being sent off. McCormack has been instrumental for his side so far this season, but has seemed a little lost throwing in rash challenges so far tonight.

He hands over the captains armband and is replaced by the more attacking option of Barry McNamee, who scored on the opening night of the season during Cork’s 3-2 win away to St Pat’s.




Kieran Sadlier cuts inside following a snappy counter-attack from Dundalk at the other end. He eyes the top corner from distance, but his shot floats well wide of the target.


It’s been an eventful opening half an hour and tempers have flared at Oriel Park between the teams.

Tempers flare during the match Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO


Dundalk’s dominance inside the opening period has waned a little bit now, as the game goes more end-to-end and balances out. Both sides are having chances at goal and there have been nothing short of an abundance of rash challenges going in left, right and centre from both teams. A proper rivalry feel to this.


Chance for Cork City! Barry McNamee comes so close to bringing the scores level. He gets on the end of a Mark McNulty kick-out, letting the ball roll down his leg before volleying straight at Gary Rodgers.

The re-bound presents another opportunity, but former Liverpool man Daniel Cleary boots the ball clear and away for a corner. Brilliant defending.


Sean Hoare gets on the end of a cross with a hook/overheard kick. If it went in, he’d say he meant it, but it looked like the centre back was just trying to keep the ball in a dangerous area there. Either way, it is gathered quite easily by McNulty inside the box.


Dundalk really pressing forward at the end of the first half here. Michael Duffy looks a menacing threat, cutting inside before offloading possession to Ronan Murray. The ex-Galway United striker sizes up a chance but it’s deflected into the arms of McNulty.


Another chance! Murray capitalises on some unsure defending from Cork before toe-poking an effort just inches wide of the bottom corner on the edge of the area. John Caulfield will want to make sure his side are no more than one goal behind heading into the break if they are to come away with a result in the second half.


There will be two minutes of additional time to come at the end of the first half.


Well then, what did we make of that?

It really has been an explosive game so far with plenty of fouls and chances at either end. Dundalk stormed into the lead after just four minutes and the home supporters will relish the mistake from Mark McNulty which made it so.

He spilled Ronan Murray’s free-kick from distance, allowing Patrick Hoban the chance to poke home from close range to make it 1-0.

John Caulfield made a quick switch and brought off his captain Conor McCormack, who was penalised for a number of fouls and held the potential of being sent off, bringing on Barry McNamee.

Thereafter Cork came into the game, with McNamee and Kieran Sadlier each having decent chances to bring the scores level.

Will Cork turn it around after the break or will Dundalk see this through and cut the deficit between the teams to two points at the top of the table?


It’s been an intriguing opening 45 minutes at Oriel Park, with plenty more to come after the break.

Dundalk v Cork City - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Source: Stephen McCarthy

Dundalk v Cork City - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division


Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Sean Kavanagh has doubled Shamrock Rovers’ lead against Derry City at Tallaght Stadium. Here’s the current scores everywhere else in the SSE Airtricity League tonight with a little under an hour played.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 21.10.12


Dundalk really pressing for a second here at the start of the second half. Michael Duffy almost lines up a shot a matter of yards out from goal. Some good shielding forces him to release possession to the edge of the area, with Ronan Murray forcing a save from McNulty from 20 yards out.


CHANCE! Hoban almost doubles his side’s lead and so very nearly grabs his second of the night.

The striker twists and turns and shakes his marker away inside the box cleverly, before putting his head down and dragging an effort across goal. He intended his shot for the bottom corner, but it dragged ever so narrowly wide of the post. A matter of inches yet again.


City with a chance now at the other end. Barry McNamee delivers a corner into the danger zone which Garry Buckley takes down inside the area. Graham Cummins senses a chance, but his acrobatic effort is just too high and flies over the crossbar. Better from Cork.


It’s still all to play for with just under half an hour to go.

Conor McCarthy and Ronan Murray Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Mark McNulty receives treatment

Michael Duffy and Gearoid Morrissey


CHANCE! A fantastic save from Mark McNulty denies Ronan Murray a brilliant chance to potentially put this game to bed. The striker was played clean through on goal following some clever play from deep but his strike is right at the goalkeeper who produces a brave save off his line to keep it at 1-0.


Off the line! A Dundalk corner is fumbled by McNulty and Shane Griffin standing on the post hoofs the ball clear. Will Dundalk regret these missed chances to put this game beyond Cork?


Shots are reigning down on Mark McNulty’s goal at a relentless pace at the minute. Dane Massey with a shot from range and another effort which was gathered by the goalkeeper. Cork seem to be struggling to get out of their own half.


PENALTY DUNDALK! Robbie Benson is brought down inside the area and the visitors will have a chance to double their lead from the spot.


Oriel Park goes silent aside from the vocal travelling Cork supporters as Mark McNulty guesses correctly and tips Robbie Benson’s strike around the post! Will that rejuvenate his side to try and grab an equaliser here with 15 minutes to go?


Substitution for Cork City: Jimmy Keohane replaces Garry Buckley.

Substitution for Dundalk: Karolis Chvedukas replaces Ronan Murray.


Ten minutes to go now for Cork to try and grab an equaliser. If they don’t, they will suffer their first defeat of the campaign and come within just one point of tonight’s opponents. This would be a huge three points for Stephen Kenny’s side, who would cut the deficit massively.


And here is that penalty save from Mark McNulty which has kept his side in this game.


Chance! Michael Duffy bears down on goal but drags his show just wide of the post. He has been a menace all night along the left wing for the Lilywhites but, like his side as a whole, has passed up too many chances on goal tonight.


Heated tensions along the sideline now as both sets of players confront one another following a late challenge from substitute Chvedukas on Shane Griffin. A poor challenge from the Lithuanian international who is only just on the pitch a matter of minutes. He receives a booking from the referee.


Side-netting! Robbie Benson dodges challenges inside the box but when the time came to release the ball and have a go at goal, he could only find the side-netting as McNulty closed down the space well. Just stoppage time to go!


There will be three minutes of additional time to come at the end of the second half.


A chaotic end to the game as Cork press forward relentlessly in search of a leveller. They cross the ball into the box time and time again but Dundalk are holding firm for now.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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