Cork City 0-2 Dundalk FC
Two Patrick Hoban goals in the space of just two minutes propelled Dundalk into third place in the SSE Airtricity League table as the Lilywhites overcame a stubborn Cork City at Turner’s Cross on Tuesday night.
After being frustrated for 73 minutes, we made the vital breakthrough when Hoban swept home from close range after a mistake in the Cork City six-yard box and the striker took his tally to nine for the season just two minutes later when he buried an inviting Sean Gannon cross to seal a vitally important win.
The result lifts Filippo Giovagnoli’s men into the European places – one point ahead of fourth-placed Waterford with two games in hand – and is the perfect start to a busy period which will see us play two more league games in the next five days.
Filippo Giovagnoli made seven changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Finn Harps in our last outing with Cameron Dummigan, Andy Boyle, Chris Shields and Nathan Oduwa the only four to retain their place in the starting XI.
Sean Gannon, who picked up a nasty ankle injury in the Europa League tie with Sheriff Tiraspol in Transnistria, made a welcome return to the side and, in tandem with Oduwa, he featured prominently.
Cameron Dummigan fizzed an effort just wide of the upright with less than a minute played and that set the tempo for the remainder of the half as Dundalk penned the hosts back for large spells. City goalkeeper Liam Bossin was relatively underworked, though, with Michael Duffy shooting wide and Patrick Hoban heading tamely into the ‘keeper’s hands from a Sean Murray corner.
Another well-worked move on the right involving Oduwa and Gannon almost ended with Patrick McEleney pulling the trigger but he just couldn’t find his feet and the opportunity passed.
Giovagnoli’s side upped the tempo after that and created the best move of the first half in the 34th minute. Again, it came down the right with Oduwa doing really well to dig a cross out on the byline. Duffy’s touch was inviting for the incoming Murray but the in-form midfielder curled his effort just wide of the post.
The biggest talking point of the evening came just four minutes later. Oduwa turned on the afterburners to surge clear on the right but his cross was blocked by the outstretched arm of Alan Bennett. Incredibly, referee Neil Doyle waved our protests away.
Gary Rogers easily dealt with Cian Coleman’s 40th-minute effort, Cork’s first and only attempt of the half, and the sides went in deadlocked at the break when Gannon saw his drive go across the face of goal and wide after the ball came back off a defender.
The second half opened in much the same fashion and Hoban was unlucky to see the ball cannon off his shin and fly over the top after Duffy had cut in from the left and drilled an effort goalwards that Bossin could only parry.
The Lilywhites hitman was left frustrated again shortly after when Doyle waved away his shout for a penalty but his moment arrived with 17 minutes on the clock when Dummigan’s lofted cross caused havoc for Bossin and Hoban was there to gobble up the loose ball and smash the ball home.
That knocked the stuffing out of the hosts, who saw Gary Rogers frustrate Dylan McGlade with a stunning save on the hour mark, and the three points were banked when Hoban darted to the near post to hammer home an inch-perfect Gannon cross with 15 minutes to play.
CORK CITY: Liam Bossin; Joseph Olowu, Alan Bennett, Jake O’Brien, Uniss Kargbo (Alec Byrne HT); Gearoid Morrissey, Henry Ochieng; Cian Coleman, Dylan McGlade (Cian Bargary 74), Kevin O’Connor; Deshane Dalling (Conor Simpson 84). Subs not used: David Harrington (GK), Rob Slevin, Cory Galvin, Dale Holland.
DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Cameron Dummigan; Chris Shields; Nathan Oduwa (Stefan Colovic 80), Sean Murray (Greg Sloggett 65), Patrick McEleney (Jordan Flores 80), Michael Duffy (Daniel Kelly 87); Patrick Hoban (David McMillan 87). Subs not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Brian Gartland.
REFEREE: Neil Doyle.