Four-goal Cork City ease past Longford Town
Karl Sheppard among the goals as Cork bounce back from European disappointment
Cork City had a fine 4-1 away win against Longford Town on Saturday night. Photograph: Inpho
A goal on his league debut from Steven Beattie helped Cork take their Europa League frustration out on Longford at the City Calling Stadium to move to within six points of Premier Division leaders Dundalk.
Keen to exorcise the memory of their European exit to KR Reykjavik, Cork started positively with Garry Buckley blasting over the bar inside two minutes after good work on the right by skipper John Dunleavy.
John Caulfield’s visitors had some defending to do on 14 minutes with Dan Murray getting a vital header to deflect a shot from Longford captain Mark Salmon out for the home side’s second corner.
Cork had started much the better, though, and were ahead five minutes later.
Beattie initially won a corner off Longford defender Willie Tyrell. And the right winger was there in the area to score with a downward header from Kevin O’Connor’s delivery.
That set-piece threat wasn’t heeded as Longford conceded from another Cork corner within four minutes.
Again O’Connor put the ball into the area. This time, Karl Sheppard got his head to it, directing it goalward with Tyrell’s attempted clearance only succeeding in knocking the ball onto the underside of the bar for it to bounce down over the goal line.
Longford worked hard to try to get back into the game on the wet surface and were unfortunate not to have got a goal back in time added on at the end of the first half.
A sweeping move involving Kevin O’Connor and Dean Kelly put full-back Conor Powell away on the overlap on the left to cross.
Salmon’s header was straight at Mark McNulty in the Cork goal who parried the ball away.
But it was Skinner who kept Longford in the game with two big saves early in the second half.
First the Longford keeper batted away a stinging drive from Gavan Holohan who bore down on goal from the left five minutes in.
Scarcely a minute elapsed before Skinner made a fine stop with his feet from Beattie’s header from Holohan’s cross.
Longford pressed hard to get back into the game, though they should really have fallen further behind from a counterattack on 65 minutes.
Sheppard did well to force an error from Rhys Gorman to get through on goal only to somehow scuff his shot wide for a dreadful miss.
Mark O’Sullivan made no such mistake when scoring Cork’s third goal on 68 minutes, however, racing onto Garry Buckley’s sublime through ball to shoot past Skinner.
Sheppard made amends for his earlier miss when adding the fourth three minutes from time following Liam Miller’s defence-splitting pass.
Kelly got Longford’s consolation goal with a spectacular strike to the top corner from 25 yards three minutes into added time.
Longford Town: Skinner; Mulhall, Gorman, Tyrell, Powell; Ben Mohamed (Simon, 81), Salmon, O’Connor, Doherty (Shannon, 56); Kelly, Shaw (O’Sullivan, 81).
Cork City: McNulty; Dunleavy, Bennett, Murray, O’Connor; Miller, Buckley; Beattie (Kearney, 85), Holohan, Sheppard (Ellis, 88); O’Sullivan (Morrissey, 80).
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)