Derry City 0, Cork City 2
AARON BARRY saw red in the dying embers of Derry City’s defeat to Cork City tonight as ex-City winger, Billy Dennehy came back to inflict more pain on the Brandywell club.
Derry City boss, Peter Hutton claimed the 2-0 result was ‘flattering’ on Cork as Dennehy’s sublime pass set up Karl Sheppard for the opening goal on 59 minutes before his penalty kick three minutes from time sealed three points for the Leesiders.
Hutton added that he did see some ‘green shoots’ in a positive first half performance but it was once again their lack of potency in attack which held them back on the night.
Ronan Curtis was a stand-out performer in the opening half for City while Stephen Dooley made his first competitive appearance of the season in the second half.
It was a ninth league game without victory for the ‘Candy Stripes’ and they must dwell on this latest defeat for another two weeks before they return to action. However, there continues to be a significant improvement and Hutton believes the fortnight rest will be beneficial for his troops.
The home lot had matched Cork during an evenly contested opening 45 minutes. However, Gerard Doherty had to be alert to the danger after just seven minutes when Sheppard was played through the middle and the Derry keeper managed to divert the Cork man’s low strike behind for a corner.
Derry almost capitalised from a quick break two minutes later as Patrick McEleney twisted and turned inside the Cork penalty area but his curling strike with his left foot sailed wide of the far post.
Mark Timlin did superbly on 18 minutes to skip past his man and his cross to the near post was met by Philip Lowry but the Derry midfielder couldn’t get enough power into his header and McNulty saved.
Eight minutes before the break Lowry spread the play wide on the left to Timlin and the Buncrana man’s deflected strike was saved by the out-stretched leg of McNulty.
Billy Dennehy came so close to hitting the back of the net on 40 minutes from a free-kick 25 yards from the Derry goal but his curling effort went narrowly over the crossbar.
Cork should’ve taken the lead seven minutes after the interval when Billy Dennehy found his brother Darren free at the back post with a long diagonal free-kick.
The Cork centre half headed across goal but it somehow evaded both Mark O’Sullivan and Karl Sheppard who made promising runs into the six yard box.
The visitors then deservedly broke the deadlock on 59 minutes when Billy Dennehy found Sheppard with a sublime crossfield pass and the Cork striker got in behind the Derry defence before calmly slotting past Doherty from 10 yards.
Second half substitute, John O’Flynn almost added a second on 72 minutes when he latched onto a punt upfield from the back, muscled both Shane McEleney and Barry off the ball before dragging his shot just wide.
Sheppard turned provider as Cork began to turn the screw with seven minutes to go and his inviting cross was met by a deft, glancing header from O’Flynn which shaved the outside of the back post.
Stephen Dooley came off the bench for his first competitive appearance of the season and he added extra impetus to the Derry attack in the final stages. He created Derry’s first chance of the second half on 84 minutes when laying the ball back to Barry McNamee who drilled his shot across goal and wide.
The match was over as a contest with three minutes to go when Padraig Sutton flashed a straight red card at Aaron Barry after the Derry centre half brought down O’Flynn inside the penalty area, with the striker ready to pull the trigger and net what would have been a certain goal.
Up stepped Billy Dennehy to take the resultant penalty kick and he made no mistake, powering his effort into the corner of the net.
Derry City: G. Doherty: S. Kelly, S. McEleney, A., Barry, D. Jarvis; R. Curtis (S. Dooley, 73), P. Lowry, B. McNamee, M. Timlin; P, McEleney, R. Curran; Subs Not Used - S. Patton, S. Clucas, J. Daniels, N. Boyle, C. Morrison, C. Harkin.
Cork City: M. McNulty; R. Gaynor, A. Bennett, D. Dennehy, K. O’Connor, B. Dennehy (L. Kearney 90), L. Miller, D. Murray, G. Buckley; K. Sheppard (R. Lehane 90), M. O’Sullivan (J. O’Flynn 58); Subs Not Used - G. Holohan, K. O’Brien, D. Morrissey, M. Sweeney.
Referee; Padraigh Sutton (Co. Clare)