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There was yet more great entertainment at Turner’s Cross on Friday night as another six goals were scored and Cork City continued their good run of form by defeating UCD 4-2 in front of a wet crowd of 2,442. Davin O’Neill was the hero once again with his second hat-trick of the campaign, adding the third in the third minute of injury time.
In similar conditions and circumstances to the last game here, where Cork defeated Dundalk 3-2, the rain bucketed down for the entire game. And although there was an extra goal at the end of it, there wasn’t as much excitement in the opening 20 minutes on this occasion, mainly down to UCD sitting back from the outset and defending a lot more than the Lilywhites did when they made the journey south. Then again, you couldn’t really blame Martin Russell for his conservative outlook from the off, seeing as they’re second from bottom.
The similarities from the Dundalk game continued as the home side took an early lead, thanks to a deflected effort from Daryl Horgan on 13 minutes, his third goal of the campaign. Tommy Dunne’s men stuck with the same side and system that drew with St Pat’s in Inchicore last weekend and in the end it proved to be a winning formula – stretching their unbeaten run to four games.
Nonetheless, UCD drew level just two minutes after falling behind, the leveller coming from the penalty spot. There was certainly contact from Cork defender John Dunleavy on Chris Lyons and although the young College attacker made the most of it by hitting the deck, it was always going to be a penalty. Graham Rusk stepped up to take it and he struck low to the right of the goal to draw the students level.
At that point, the pace of the game died down quite a bit and there was little action of note in front of either goal for almost 20 minutes. However, just as the match looked to be heading towards half-time at 1-1, the home team went back ahead.
A nice pass from Tadhg Purcell to Davin O’Neill awarded the on-form attacker an opportunity to get a shot away from a tight angle and although Michael Leahy was on hand to clear the ball before it hit the net, referee Jim McKell and his assistant never hesitated in awarding the goal.
Paul O’Conor had the first attempt of the second period when his shot from over 25 yards was deflected over, Gearóid Morrissey, on standby with the Irish U21 side, did similar at the opposite end, while O’Conor went close once again on 53 minutes.
The game started to open up a bit as time wore on and Vinny Sullivan shot at Mark McGinley after good work from Duggan, the keeper getting a leg to the strike but bizarrely no corner was awarded. With no other option but to attack, UCD were much improved and with Paul Corry doing a good job in a holding role, they looked threatening on the break.
Yet Cork still managed to carve out the better chances in front of goal. Horgan’s cross-cum-shot from the right was palmed away by a scrambling McGinley on 64 minutes and the keeper did well to push away a low drive from Sullivan.
All of a sudden, with 11 minutes to go, a spanner was thrown into the works. The prominent O’Conor made it 2-2 after Danny Ledwith’s free-kick was parried against the bar by McNulty and O’Conor added the finishing touch a couple of yards out from goal.
Once again, parity didn’t last and all of UCD’s good work was undone within a minute as Hugh Douglas – wearing 27 instead of 13 after switching his shirt during the second half – handled the ball and O’Neill stepped up from 12 yards to fire home.
A mess up from McGinley allowed O’Neill in three minutes into injury time and he finished from two yards to bring his tally to eight for the season.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colin Healy, John Dunleavy, Kalen Spillane, Danny Murphy; Daryl Horgan (Ian Turner 69), Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Duggan, Davin O'Neill; Vinny Sullivan (Stephen Kenny 90), Tadhg Purcell.
Subs not used: Kevin Burns, Cathal Lordan, Gavin Kavanagh, Dan Murray, Garry Buckley.
Bookings: D Murphy (78).
UCD: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, Michael Leahy, David O'Connor, Daniel Ledwith; Graham Rusk, Robert Benson (Samir Belhout 83), Paul Corry, Paul O’Conor, Gary Burke (Ciaran Nangle 46); Chris Lyons.
Subs not used: John Kelly, James Kavanagh, Mark Langtry, Stephen Doyle, Ryan McLaughlin.
Bookings: Douglas (80).
Referee: James McKell.
Official attendance: 2,442.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Paul O’Conor (UCD).