Hoban The Hero As Lilywhites Defeat Cork
Dundalk won their second game in a row on Friday night as they defeated Cork City 1-0 at Oriel Park.
Patrick Hoban’s first half strike was enough for all three points after a titanic battle.
It was a lightning start for the Lilywhites as they took the lead after just five minutes when Ronan Murray’s free-kick from 30 yards looked an easy gather for Mark McNulty but he spilled it and Patrick Hoban reacted first to poke the ball to the net.
It almost happened again with Murray again striking but this time McNulty grabbed at the second attempt.
Steven Beattie had the visitors first effort when he shot wide from an angle with Michael Duffy then firing wide from a free-kick shortly after.
Kieran Sadlier shot from distance when he cut inside but didn’t threaten the goal on the left side.
Murray had another chance but this time his clever drive was just wide of the post with McNulty beaten.
Sadlier again fired wide from a similar position before Robbie Benson almost doubled the advantage however he shot just wide when he broke onto the ball from 25 yards.
Duffy was having joy in the left and he cut inside on Beattie but fired low just outside the post again with McNulty in no man’s land.
Cork City had their best chance of the half when substitute Barry McNamee, who came in for Conor McCormack, found himself free through the centre however Gary Rogers produced a brilliant stop to deny the midfielder. The follow up was somehow cleared off the line by Sean Gannon in some expert last ditch defending.
Sean Hoare tried an ambitious overhead kick from a corner however it was saved by McNutly however Murray should have got on the scoresheet when he teed himself up from the edge of the area but he dragged it just wide just on the stroke of half-time.
It was more of the same from Dundalk in the second half when Duffy once again found space but his stinging shot was stopped by McNulty.
Cork had a chance when Aaron Barry glanced wide from a corner but it didn’t threaten the goal while Hoban played in Murray one on one with McNulty however the goalkeeper spread himself well to block once more.
Hoban should have secured his brace when Duffy played a superb reverse ball to him but he pulled it wide.
Dane Massey found space 35 yards on the left and unleashed a piledriver however McNulty produced a stunning save to tip it over the bar.
Dundalk were given the perfect opportunity to make it 2-0 with just over 15 minutes remaining when Benson went down in the box and he took the spot kick himself.
However McNulty redeemed himself from his earlier error with the free-kick and tipped the ball around the post.
Benson robbed the ball 30 yards from goal and he teed up Duffy who went raiding through the centre but he pulled his shot inches wide of the post with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Benson this time had the chance himself when he took the ball down brilliantly and got right through however he poked it wide again from a tight angle.
With some pressure from Cork the Lilywhites withstood it and after three minutes referee Paul McLaughlin blew the full-time whistle to end a super contest.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Jamie McGrath (Dean Jarvis 90), Ronan Murray (Karolis Chvedukas 78), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Marco Tagbajumi 89).
Substitutes not used: Gabriel Sava, Kristztian Adorján, Stephen Folan, Dylan Connolly.
Booked: Chvedukas (86), Shields (90)
Sent off: None.
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Conor McCarthy, Aaron Barry, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack (capt) (Barry McNamee 20), Gearoid Morrissey; Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley (Jimmy Keohane 78), Kieran Sadlier; Graham Cummins.
Substitutes not used: Peter Cherrie (GK), Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Michael Howard, Colm Horgan, Sean McLoughlin.
Booked: McCormack (6) Buckley (18)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin