by Robert O'Reilly
Two early first half goals from Billy Dennehy and Kieran Djilali were enough for Cork City to secure a 2-1 over Drogheda United at United Park.
Cork raced into a two goal lead after only 18 minutes and despite Lloyd Buckley’s late header and a strong Drogheda fight back, City hung on to consign United to their fifth league defeat of the season.
There were two changes for Drogheda from the side that lost last week to Dundalk as Sean Thornton made his first start in four games in place of Mark Hughes while Cathal Brady was selected ahead of Jason Marks.
Last season’s runners-up dominated the early proceedings with Micheál Schlingermann called into action once on 11 moments as he clawed John Kavanagh’s deep cross away from goal and then denied the Cork City right back soon after with a strong one handed save.
With Drogheda struggling to get any possession going, the opener seemed inevitable and it eventually arrived on 17 minutes as Ross Gaynor’s cross from the left was headed home by the unmarked Billy Dennehy from eight yards.
It was 2-0 only a couple of minutes later as a corner kick from the right was met by Djilali and his close range header ricocheted off a Drogheda defender with the ball trickling into the bottom corner past the hapless Schlingermann.
Drogheda began to impose themselves after half an hour and they squandered a glorious chance to pull one back on 40 minutes when Stephen Maher skied his shot over the bar after good approach play on the left wing from Thornton and Joe Gorman.
Maher went close again in first half stoppage time as his 30 yard drive brought a fine save out of the otherwise untested Mark McNulty in the Cork goal.
The home side started the second half with much more intensity and determination in their play and they created their first chance as a looping cross from Sean Brennan was headed narrowly wide by Carl Walshe.
Walshe was the home side’s best attacking outlet and his deflected cross on 58 minutes brought out a smart save from McNulty following a fine passing move involving Daryl Kavanagh and Maher.
Drogheda got the goal that their second half display deserved on 78 minutes when Brennan’s corner kick was powered into the roof of the net by Buckley for his first senior goal for the club.
While United were unable to launch a late onslaught on the Cork goal, they did create one final chance in stoppage time as a long ball into the box was met by Kavanagh but he pulled his shot from an acute angle across goal as the Leesiders survived.
The games are coming thick and fast for United as they travel to Richmond Park on Monday to face St Patrick’s Athletic before hosting Longford Town next Friday.
Stephen Maher (Mark Hughes 73)
Carl Walshe (Jason Marks 80)
Sean Brennan (Tiarnan Mulvennna 83)
Kieran Djilali (Gavan Holohan 75)
Lloyd Buckley (78)
Billy Dennehy (17)
Kieran Djilali (19)