MATCH REPORT from tonight’s Munster Derby, brought to you by Adrian Finnan and Sporting Limerick.
Cork City secured a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Limerick FC in the first Munster derby of the season at the Markets Field courtesy of goals from Sean Maguire, Garry Buckley and Georoid Morrissey.
Cork City began the brighter of the two sides as a clever knock down by Sean Maguire resulted in a wayward strike by Cork midfielder Garry Buckley. Limerick responded on the quarter-hour mark as the lively Lee-J Lynch crossed from the right-hand side but Brazilian target man Rodrigo Tosi headed wide from a great position.
The visitors took the lead as a mistake by young defender Tony Whitehead allowed star striker Sean Maguire to roll the ball past Limerick’s Brendan Clarke. Moments later, Limerick’s Whitehead was almost beaten in an individual battle with Maguire but the Cork forward failed to punish the Limerick defence as he placed the ball wide from five yards. The dangerous Karl Shephard created Cork’s next chance as he supplied Conor McCormack at the edge of the box but the former Shamrock Rovers man fired the ball off the crossbar. On the half hour mark, Cork extended their lead as a cross from left-back Kevin O’Connor found Garry Buckley at the back post and he finished neatly from close range.
Limerick reacted by making two changes at half-time as Dave O’Connor and John O’Flynn replaced the struggling Tony Whitehead and Tommy Robson. Thus, Limerick changed their shape, opting for a back three of O’Connor, Robbie Williams and Shaun Kelly with Chiedozie Ogbene and Ian Turner acting as two wing-backs. However, a minute into the second half, Cork added a third goal before Limerick could adapt to their positional changes. Georoid Morrissey unleashed a low strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box past the helpless Brendan Clarke.
Sean Maguire almost bagged his second goal of the game as he easily evaded the desperate challenge of Robbie Williams but the former Dundalk player failed to beat the advancing Clarke in the Limerick goal. Rodrigo Tosi had a great chance to reduce the deficit for the Super Blues as he controlled a diagonal ball from substitute Dave O’Connor, but Limerick’s top scorer snatched at the resultant volley.
Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty almost gifted the Shannonsiders a way back into the game as he missed a routine punch from a Shane Duggan free-kick. Exciting winger Chiedozie Ogbene was next to come close for Limerick as his mishit cross almost found the top corner of McNulty’s net.
Despite a few shaky moments, Cork’s McNulty was intent on keeping his clean sheet and the veteran goalkeeper denied Robbie Williams long range free kick. In the closing stages, John Caulfield’s men nearly added a fourth goal as substitute Conor Ellis pounced on a mistake by Williams. However, substitute Dave O’Connor did brilliantly to deny Ellis and saved the blushes of his center-back partner.
Cork expertly closed out the game as the home side were resigned to defeat. John Caulfield’s troops remain top of the table with a 100% record after seven wins from seven. Limerick manager Martin Russell will be hoping his side can bounce back quickly against St Patricks Athletic at Richmond Park next Friday evening.
Limerick FC: Brendan Clarke, Shaun Kelly, Tony Whitehead(David O’Connor 45), Robbie Williams, Tommy Robson (John O’Flynn 45), Paul O’Conor, Shane Duggan, Lee-J Lynch, Ian Turner, Chiedozie Ogbene, Rodrigo Tosi (Chris Mulhall 80).
Subs not used: Freddy Hall, Stephen Kenny, Tobiaz Kainz, Bastien Hery.
Yellow Cards: Rodrigo Tosi (49), Shaun Kelly (51)
Red Cards: None
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Conor McCormack, Alan Bennett, Ryan Delaney, Kevin O’Connor, Garry Buckley, Georoid Morrissey, Jimmy Keohane (Shane Griffin 64), Stephen Dooley (Christian Nanetti 85), Karl Shephard, Sean Maguire (Conor Ellis 75)
Subs not used: Alan Smith, Alec Byrne, Conor McCarthy, John Kavanagh.
Yellow Cards: Garry Buckley (35), Jimmy Keohane (56), Alan Bennett (81).
Referee: Neil Doyle
Official Attendance: 2989
Sporting Limerick Man of the Match: Karl Shephard