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Cork City defeated Drogheda United by four goals to one at Turner’s Cross on Monday night in front of a crowd of 2,142 people.
Drogheda had the better start to the game going ahead through Lee Duffy on nine minutes and looked to be in control at the break. Caulfield’s City rallied and thanks to a hat trick from Billy Dennehy and a goal from Karl Sheppard the result was put beyond doubt as City keep hold of second place in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
The home side made one change to the starting XI that defeated Sligo Rovers last Friday 3-2 in Turner’s Cross with Billy Dennehy replacing Kieran Djilali on the wing.
Drogheda United, who got their first win in ten last week at home to Bray Wanderers, made two changes to the side that started. Stephen Maher was ruled out with suspension and Cathal Brady started in his place, while Shane Dunne replaced Carl Walshe who scored past City the last time these sides met in the Cross last year when City won 2-1.
Drogheda showed an early sign of intent after a minute when Daryl Kavanagh brought a save out of McNulty. Drogheda had all the possession for the opening stage as City struggled to gain any bit of a foot hold.
But the early pressure counted when they took a deserved lead through Lee Duffy on nine minutes. The ex-City player Kavanagh ran down the line and passed to Cathal Brady who set up Duffy and he dinked the ball over Mark McNulty into a stunned Shed End.
They were very unlucky not to double their lead minutes later when Kavanagh who was proving a menace to the City backline passed the ball over Murray to Sean Brennan but McNulty was able to block it from close range.
Gavan Holohan had City’s first shot against his former employers on 14 minutes when his low drive from 20 yards had Micheal Schlingermann at full stretch to turn the ball around for a corner.
Drogheda were full of attacking plays and City were guilty of some woeful passing. However in the final five minutes they peppered the Drogheda goal and only for some inspired keeping by Schlingermann the home side would have been level.
Firstly on 42 minutes Karl Sheppard was played in by Holohan but as he was attempting to round the keeper the ball was tipped away and Michael Daly hacked it out for a corner.
Then on the verge of half time Colin Healy had a shot half blocked on the edge of box falling to Mark O’Sullivan but his powerful shot from 12 yards was well blocked by Schlingermann for a corner.
John Caulfield must have given his side a powerful half-time talk as they came out a completely different side and equalised through a stunning Billy Dennehy free kick from 25 yards into the top corner that left Schlingermann routed to the spot.
Kevin O’Connor then had a shot go narrowly wide as City as City showed more attacking intent.
On 64 minutes they got a lead they were never going to relinquish when extratime.ie man of the match Billy Dennehy’s free kick was kicked in from close range by Karl Sheppard to send the Shed wild.
Sean Thornton had a free kick from 25 yards blocked by McNulty on 67 minutes as the Boynesiders looked for an equaliser.
Drogheda’s cause wasn’t helped on 71 minutes when Shane Dunne was shown a straight red for a lunge on John Kavanagh.
Drogheda though didn’t stop trying though as Lee Duffy had a few half chances that McNulty saved well.
However the result was put beyond doubt on 83 minutes when Alan Byrne blocked Garry Buckley’s shot with a hand resulting in a penalty for City and an early shower for Byrne. Dennehy stepped up and fired it home to make it 3-1.
He thought his chance of a hat trick was gone on 90 minutes when his shot from distance was blocked by Schlingermann. Yet deep in injury time he claimed the well deserved hat trick when Buckley skipped over a cross leaving the ball to Dennehy who powered it home to the bottom right hand corner and send the Shed wild.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Kavanagh, Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy, Kevin O’Connor; Billy Dennehy, Gavan Holohan, Colin Healy, Liam Miller (Garry Buckley 80), Karl Sheppard (Danny Morrissey 69); Mark O’Sullivan (Liam Kearney 85).
Subs not used: Alan Smith (gk), Kieran Djilali, Michael McSweeney, Rob Lehane.
Booked: Murray (60).
Drogheda United: Micheal Schlingermann; Michael Daly, Joe Gorman, Alan Byrne, Jason Marks; Lee Duffy (Tiernan Mulvenna 83), Shane Dunne, Mark Hughes Cathal Brady (Carl Walshe 65); Sean Brennan (Sean Thornton 37), Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs Not Used: Evan Farrell (gk), Robert O’Reilly, Sam McGowan, Lloyd Buckley.
Booked: Gorman (40), Byrne (53), Dunne (56), Kavanagh (84).
Sent Off: Dunne (71), Byrne (81), Kavanagh (90+5).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Billy Dennehy (Cork City)