SEAGULLS PUSH CORK ALL THE WAY
BRAY WANDERERS 0
CORK CITY 2
AS parting gifts go, a 20th league goal of the season, an assist and three points isn’t half bad.
Seanie Maguire signed off of domestic duty for Cork City as he nudged them closer to seemingly inevitable Premier Division glory against Bray Wanderers.
Despite an extraordinarily eventful 16 days between the Co. Wicklow’s fixtures against Dundalk and City, the Seagulls put on a united front as they pushed the future title winners right up until the 87th minute when Jimmy Keohane sealed the win.
There were signs of life early on for Bray when Jason Marks’ cross was met by a stooping Mark Salmon. It had Mark McNulty scrambling but it eventually faded wide.
Cork should have taken the lead in the fifth minute and from there on in, they had Bray by the throat.
City enjoyed relentless joy down the left flank through Kieran Sadlier and his flighted cross found Maguire unmarked.
The usually clinical frontman got his angles wrong though and he failed to punish Bray’s lacklustre marking.
Maguire would not the same mistake twice. Eight minutes later, he started and finished the move that broke the deadlock.
He sprayed a delicious diagonal ball from left flank to right and Sheppard’s control was almost as tasty.
He rolled it back to Steven Beattie to deliver the cross and there was Maguire arriving to beat Hugh Douglas to the ball and head Cork ahead despite Cherrie getting his fingertips on the effort.
No blame could be laid on Cherrie there but he almost gifted City a second.
Mark Salmon pinged a pass back to Cherrie and he killed it dead with his first touch.
He then seemed to ignore the ominous, in-rushing Maguire before kicking it off him.
The ball struck Maguire, it rebounded off Cherrie and spun into Maguire’s path but it trickled over the goal-line just as he was about to pounce.
The Preston bound striker continued to be a thorn in Bray’s defence as he lost a 50-50 with Douglas but immediately peeled off him which allowed him to latch onto Sadlier’s first-time pass.
Maguire stood Conor Kenna up before gliding past him and tried to repeat the trick against Cherrie but the Scot just managed to halt the ball.
Sadlier continued to enjoy the freedom of the left flank and his 40th minute cross almost produced City’s second but Keohane’s header didn’t match his leap and it finished the wrong side of the far post.
Mark McNulty was a spectator in the opening half but he was kept on his toes after the interval.
A slide-rule pass down then right from Ryan Brennan allowed Aaron Greene to latch onto it and angle his run into the box but with no options centrally and the angle tight, a snapshot into the side netting was the best he could manage.
Wanderers thought they had beaten McNulty in the 56th minute when Gary McCabe’s intended cross from a free floated past everyone and into the net but it was chalked off for pushing seemingly.
Maguire was then inches from killing off Bray’s spirited second half showing.
He collected Steven Beattie’s pass and floated past two defenders but his strike came back off the post and Achille Campion failed to beat Cherrie with the follow-up.
With only the slenderest of leads to show for all their dominance, the City fans began to grow hesitant.
When an injury to Conor McCormack didn’t see referee Robert Harvey halt proceedings, the tension was ramped up.
Bray played on and continued to retain possession until Ryan Delaney clattered McCabe and left him in a heap.
City goalkeeper Mark McNulty then raced from his goal to remonstrate with the referee and both men were booked after a spot of handbags between the sides.
All was forgotten by the visiting fans though as they wrapped things up with four minutes to go.
A sliced clearance from Seagulls skipper Conor Kenna fell to Maguire and he crossed for Keohane to finish.
Maguire then received a standing ovation as he departed in the 91st minute.
BRAY WANDERERS: 1. Peter Cherrie; 8. Keith Buckley, 2. Hugh Douglas, 4. Conor Kenna, 19. Kevin Lynch; 3. John Sullivan,
8. Mark Salmon; 7. Ryan Brennan, 11. Gary McCabe, 23. Jason Marks; 9. Aaron Greene. Sub. - Darragh Noone for Salmon.
CORK CITY: 1. Mark McNulty; 7. Jimmy Keohane, 3. Alan Bennett, 5. Ryan Delaney, 20. Shane Griffin; 8. Conor McCormack; 10. Steven Beattie, 26. Garry Buckley, 15. Kieran Sadlier, 19. Karl Sheppard; 24. Sean Maguire. Subs. - Conor Ellis for Sheppard, Sean O’Mahony for Maguire, Achille Campion for Buckley.
REFEREE: Robert Harvey.
VENUE: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.
Aaron Greene of Bray Wanderers skips between Cork City duo Jimmy Keohane and Alan Bennett.
Denis O’Connor behind the Cork goal in the first-half of the match.
Steven Beattie of Cork City clears the ball past Jason Marks.
Peter Cherrie makes a save early in the game.