Cork City hammered Monaghan United 6-0 to record their first League of Ireland win of the season at the seventh attempt.
One felt something had to give at Turners Cross on Friday night as neither side had mustered a solitary victory between them with both having identical records (two points apiece with identical goal difference) going into the game.
Having been promoted from the First Division last season; both sides had patently struggled to adapt to the jump up in standards. There was also a hint of this being something of a grudge match between the opposing managers with Monaghan manager Roddy Collins having heavily criticized his opposite number, Tommy Dunne, as “a boy doing a man’s job” at Cork City last season.
To his eternal credit; Dunne never entered into the war of words. To Collins’ credit; this week he paid fulsome credit to his fellow Dubliner for the job he has done in Cork.
On the pitch, the opening half hour was end-to-end with both sides having efforts cleared off their opponent’s goal-line. City took the lead however, just before the 30 minute mark with a large slice of luck. Daryl Horgan’s 28th minute strike took a vicious deflection off Conor McMahon before sending goalkeeper Bennion the wrong way.
Davin O’Neill swept the ball to the net two minutes later following a fumble from the visiting goalkeeper and having battled valiantly for the opening 30 minutes; Monaghan briefly lost their way. They recovered their composure though and almost exposed City’s lack of pace at the back before the break as the sides retired with the score 2-0 at the interval.
Three minutes into the second half, the game appeared to be over though with a Morrissey free-kick and terrible marking from the visitor’s providing Vinny Sullivan with the simplest of taps in. 3-0 to City.
One minute later, the visitors are down to ten men with midfielder Keith Quinn receiving his marching orders. It’s not clear what the red card is for, but it appears to be a second booking for dissent. Whatever hope Monaghan had of salvaging the game appears to be slipping into the now fully dark Cork sky with 50 minutes played.
Credit to Monaghan though as they revert to three at the back in a desperate effort to get back into the game. It leaves them hopelessly exposed at the back however and when Darragh Reynor hits the bar for the visitors, the home side counter attack leaving O’Neill with a straightforward chance to score his second of the night. 4-0 now with 65 minutes played and Monaghan are counting the minutes to the final whistle.
Tadhg Purcell pulls off a neat turn and finish on the edge of the box to make the score 5-0 with 13 minutes to play. Either side of the fifth goal, O’Neill could have scored, hitting the post and dragging an effort wide before notching his hat-trick four minutes from time from the penalty spot.
City have completely dominated the final quarter and could/should have netted a few more but they’d certainly have taken a 6-0 win before kick-off! Monaghan are now rock bottom after seven games, two points adrift of Bray with the Rebels moving up to 10th place. It looks like a long season ahead for the Mons whilst the overwhelming emotion for the Rebel Army on the night is likely to be one of relief. The emphatic nature of their victory will likely build confidence for the more difficult battles ahead.
CORK CITY (4-4-2): Mark McNulty; Danny Murphy, Gavin Kavanagh, Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Duggan; Davin O’Neill, Vinny Sullivan, John Dunleavy, Dan Murray (C); Kalen Spillane, Daryl Horgan. SUBSTITUTES: Ian Turner, Colin Healy, Shane O’Connor, Tadhg Purcell, Cathal Lordan, Kevin Burns, Stephen Kenny.
MONAGHAN UNITED: Chris Bennion; Jordan Keegan, Conor McMahon, Conor Murphy, Keith Quinn, Darragh Reynor Willo McDonagh, Danny McGuinness, Shaun Maher (C), Stephen Maher, Gareth O’Connor. SUBSTITUTES: Tony Griffiths, Owen Humphrey, Shane Dunne, Jason Marks, Paul Whelan, Michael Schlingermann.