Cork keep pressure on
Cork City kept pace with the league leaders, St Patrick's, with a nervous win over Kilkenny City at Turner's Cross yesterday. Colin O'Brien came to Cork's rescue with a second-half goal and his fifth goal of the league championship was very welcome on a day when Cork's strikers failed to impress.
For much of the day it looked as if Kilkenny would succeed in upsetting the form book, for they dictated terms throughout the first half.
Their strength in the air was a crucial factor and the leadership provided in midfield by Tony Hall enabled them control the pace of the game.
They were unlucky after 11 minutes when Cork goalkeeper, Noel Mooney, had to dive full length to prevent an own goal by his full-back, Stephen Napier, and from the resultant corner , Cork had another let-off.
Brian Arrigan swung the ball across from the left wing, Brendan Rea won the jump for the ball at the far post and his header was turned against the cross-bar by Eric Smith.
Cork manager, Dave Barry, summed up their feelings when he said: "Kilkenny were better in the first half but couldn't take their scoring chances. We were dead and alive and tended to over-elaborate".
Cork succeeded in wrenching control of the game out of Kilkenny's hands, but their task was made easier when Rea was forced to depart with a recurrence of a leg injury just before half-time.
Ollie Cahill opened up the Kilkenny defence after 62 minutes for the decisive goal and his cross was driven high into the net by O'Brien from a narrow angle.
Jason Kabia lost a glorious chance when he shot wide of the target with only the goalkeeper to beat in the closing ten minutes and Napier was also frustrated with a header against the crossbar as Cork finished the stronger team.
"We made Cork sweat and we have played well against all the leading teams," said Kilkenny manager Alfie Hale. "It will be interesting to see if we get on next week against UCD."
Cork City: Mooney; Napier, Coughlan, Cronin, Barry Murphy, O'Brien, Flanagan, Freyne, Cahill, Cotter, Kabia. Subs: Daly for Coughlan (30 mins), Hartigan for Cotter (55 mins).
Kilkenny City: Stephenson; Breen, Rea, Smith, Walsh, Kelly, Hall, Arrigan, Cooney, O'Connor, Hale. Subs: Maher for Rea (40 mins), Foley for Hale (70 mins), Leventhal for O'Connor (78 mins).
Referee: J O'Reilly (Dublin).