Updated: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 17:32 | Comments
A deflected Mark O’Sullivan goal saw Cork City remain top of the SSE Airtricity League after a 1-0 win over UCD at Belfield Bowl.
Despite playing with 10 men for an hour, after Darren Dennehy was sent-off, Cork eased to victory as UCD didn’t trouble City keeper Mark McNulty.
In fact, Cork continued their dominance with 10 men, with Dan Murray’s header coming back off the crossbar, O’Sullivan glancing a header just wide after a corner and Gearoid Morrissey’s 30-yard looping effort falling just wide.
It took just six minutes for Cork to break the deadlock when Gary Buckley latched onto a long throw down the left and cut infield before laying the ball on to John Kavanagh on the right side of the area.
Kavanagh took a touch before driving the ball towards goal and Conor O’Donnell could only parry the the ball into the path of the onrushing Billy Dennehy whose effort went in off O’Sullivan and the left post.
UCD responded with Cillian Morrison teeing up Chris Mulhall in the box, but Brian Lenihan was quick to snuff out the chance.
But UCD offered little in terms of attacking threat and Cork should have doubled their lead when Morrisey’s cross was headed onto the bar by Dan Murray after 24 minutes.
Cork looked in complete control, but a reckless tackle by Darren Dennehy just before the half hour saw them reduced to 10 men.
Cillian Morrison had beaten the Cork player 10 yards inside the visitors’ half and was body checked by Dennehy. Referee Padraig Sutton went straight to his pocket issuing Dennehy a straight red and brother Billy saw yellow following a scuffle on the half-way line.
City kept O’Sullivan up front on his own and were happy to hit UCD on the counter-attack.
After Hugh Douglas cut out a Cork half-chance following a Lenihan free kick, O’Sullivan glanced a header just wide from the resulting corner as City led 1-0 at half-time.
After the restart, UCD continued with just one up front in Morrison, with Mulhall and Samir Belhout on the wing. They failed to get anything for their efforts as City and Dennehy continued to cause problems for the students full-back. Gareth Matthews saw yellow for fouling Dennehy and was replaced by Michael Barker.
Gary Buckley couldn’t keep his effort down as Cork City failed to capitalise after Dennehy was upended on the edge of the area as he cut inside.
After the hour former Blackburn Rovers player Morrissey attempted an audacious looping effort from 30 yards. O’Donnell looked on in the UCD goal as the ball dropped just over but the visitors continued to dominate.
The students were run ragged by Dennehy and his cross was met by O’Sullivan at the far post, who headed back across goal towards the onrushing Liam Kearney. But the substitute’s effort was stopped by O’Donnell who sprinted off his line to deny Kearney.
Murray met a Dennehy corner but he failed to direct it on target and as Cork tired UCD had their best spell in the final five minutes.
First Cillian Morrison cut in from the left but his effort was deflected wide and Belhout’s effort moments later was well saved by McNulty.
In the final minute Robbie Creevy’s volley was tame and McNulty took it easily to ensure a third straight away victory for Cork without conceding a goal this season.
City face Bohemians next at Turner’s Cross next and will hope to continue their title push but are sure to be tested more than they were today by what was a poor UCD effort, playing with an extra man for over an hour.
UCD will be unhappy with their inability to match the 10 men and create chances and can look forward to a trip to Derry next as they look set for another relegation dogfight.
UCD: Conor O’Donnell, 2 Gareth Matthew (Michael Barker on 53), 3 Mark Langtry (Thomas O’Halloran on 85), 6 James Kavanagh, 8 Robbie Creevy, 14 Hugh Douglas, 10 Robbie Benson, 17 Colm Crowe, 22 Samir Belhout, 24 Cillian Morrison, 11 Chris Mulhall (Michael Scott on 86),
Cork City: 1 Mark McNulty, 3 John Kavanagh, 4 John Dunleavy, 5 Darren Dennehy, 6 Gearoid Morrissey, 8 Darren Murphy (Liam Kearney on 62), 17 Dan Murray, 19 Brian Lenihan, 20 Billy Dennehy, 23 Mark O’Sullivan, 26 Garry Buckley.