DERRY CITY were swept aside by what Cork City boss John Caulfield hailed as his side’s ‘best performance of the season’ at Turner’s Cross on Good Friday night.
Cork striker, O’Flynn opened the scoring when he netted from close range following great build-up play by full-back Ross Gaynor in the 16th minute before two further goals from Karl Sheppard sealed what was a comfortable win for last season’s league runners-up.
The ‘Candy Stripes’ were second best throughout although they did have a number of half chances to score themselves in the second half, their closest effort arriving in added time when Patrick McEleney struck the crossbar with a speculative effort.
“We were outstanding,” said Caulfield. “We passed the ball well, and it was probably our best performance so far this season.”
“The movement, the pace, we just clicked. It was another clean sheet. Defensively we were superb and it was great to do it in front of that crowd.
“Top sides keep clean sheets,” he continued. “We work on that, and on scoring goals, creating chances. Our play was composed tonight. It was pleasing.”
And that claim from the Cork manager illustrates just how superior the Rebels were on their home patch in front of 5,104 supporters on Leeside.
On the evidence of this performance, this Cork side will certainly be challenging for the league title once again this season. After a third win on the bounce, a fifth consecutive clean sheet, Cork remain unbeaten and are closing in on the champions, Dundalk who still lead the way at the top.
As for Derry who were on the right side of a 3-0 win over Drogheda last weekend at Brandywell, it’s back to the drawing board and they must pick themselves up for tomorrow afternoon’s trip to Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports Cup.
Derry boss, Peter Hutton was ‘disappointed’ with the effort from his players after his young side appeared to be gathering some momentum after that impressive 3-0 win over Drogheda which followed a credible share of the spoils in Sligo.
On Friday night, however, too many of his players failed to take responsibility according to Hutton and he was frustrated with the manner of the goals conceded.
“It’s disappointing,” said the Derry boss. “We didn’t help ourselves, particularly in the first half we were disappointing but nowhere near the standard we’ve been building up over this last few weeks. So in that regard it’s very disappointing.
“We were very much the architects of our own downfall for the goals. The first one we were very poor defensively.
“We gave the guy too much room down our right hand side and then when he cut inside we dived in and committed ourselves so that was disappointing.
We didn’t help ourselves, particularly in the first half we were disappointing but nowhere near the standard we’ve been building up over this last few weeks. So in that regard it’s very disappointing.Peter Hutton
“And then the second goal a guy got a free header from a corner kick and I don’t know whether the guy on the line got a touch or not but we just can’t afford to give players free headers inside the box.”
On the night generally we didn’t have enough players that took responsibility and that was very disappointing.
“We are trying to build and Cork are a good side. They’ve conceded very little this season - I think they’ve only conceded one goal so when you concede, they are defensively very sound.”
Hutton made no changes to the side that defeated Drogheda at Brandywell the previous weekend but with a strong wind behind them as they attacked the Shed End, Cork were completely dominant throughout the first-half and came close to hitting the front inside the opening five minutes.
Billy Dennehy’s in-swinging free-kick from the right found his brother Darren lurking at the back-post. He directed the ball back across the face of goal towards O’Flynn, but Derry skipper, Ryan McBride prevented a certain goal with a crucial interception.
However, the home side did hit the front in the 16th minute. Gaynor made a good run down the left-wing, before sending in a low cross that O’Flynn converted from close range to score his first goal of the season.
Cork went on the attack again 60 seconds later when captain John Dunleavy also tested Doherty when he cut in from the left and unleashed a good strike but the Derry goalkeeper managed to tip the effort over the crossbar.
Cork continued to dominate and Gaynor missed the target with a shot on the volley.
Derry would have been grateful to go in at the interval just one goal behind but Cork added a deserved second in first half injury time.
Billy Dennehy’s corner from the right was headed towards goal by Darren Dennehy and Sheppard provided the final touch to leave Derry with a mountain to climb in the second half.
The visitors did improve after the break and they registered their first attempt on target on 57 minutes when Philip Lowry’s shot from 25 yards out was comfortably saved by Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty.
Any slim hopes of a comeback were over on 69 minutes as Cork sealed the win when Garry Buckley’s cross from the right found Sheppard and he netted his second of the evening with a well taken volley.
Derry substitute Cillian Morrison went close to pulling one back for Derry shortly afterwards but he headed Barry McNamee’s cross narrowly over.
Patrick McEleney struck the crossbar with a long-range effort in added time but Cork held on to secure yet another clean sheet as they maintained their 100 per cent winning start at Turner’s Cross.
Cork: Mark McNulty, John Kavanagh, Alan Bennett, John Dunleavy, Darren Dennehy, John O’Flynn (Darren Morrisey 86’), Ross Gaynor, Karl Sheppard, Billy Dennehy (Kieran Djilali 75’), Liam Miller, Garry Buckley (Gavan Holohan 88’).
Derry: Gerard Doherty, Aaron Barry, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Shaun Kelly, Mark Timlin (Sean Houston 85’), Barry McNamee, Philip Lowry, Seanan Clucas (Cillian Morrison 71’), Patrick McEleney, Anthony Elding (Ryan Curran ’80).
Referee: Robert Harvey.