UNITED DOMINATE PROMOTION RIVALS – BUT CORK ESCAPE WITH POINT

24 June 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan United 1
Cork City FC 1

The satisfaction that Monaghan United’s burgeoning troop of home game fans will have derived from watching their team dominate one of their main Airtricity League Division One promotion rivals was undercut with frustration on Friday night when Cork City escaped fortress Gortakeegan with a point despite being reduced to ten men for a compelling game’s final third, writes Peter Hughes.
Playing some of their most forceful football of the campaign, the Mons, ahead thanks to an audacious 10th minute Sean Brennan free-kick, had the Corkmen in a vice for most of the first half. Even when the visitors broke away to snatch an unlikely equaliser through Vinny Sullivan, United looked irresistible, and when Gavin Kavanagh was red-carded on the hour for burying Ryan Brennan with a fearsome tackle, the odds confronting City in preserving their unbeaten season record seemed insuperable.
But the strange laws that often govern ten v eleven contests set in, and a combination of siege defending by City and a lack of cohesion by United after the sending-off saw the match end in deadlock, although Fabio O’Brien came within a literal hairsbreadth of winning it for the home side when he swept past goalkeeper Mark McNulty and clipped an acute angle shot somehow diverted off-target by a glance from the head of Gearoid Morrissey.
The action of this meaningful match unfurled without preamble – Sullivan brought a sound second minute save from Gabriel Sava; the Mons replied with a close call from O’Brien’s lofted shot after Ryan Brennan fed him through.
A ninth minute lapse of defensive concentration by United allowed Derek O’Brien’s cross to find the division’s top scorer Graham Cummins in the box, and his deft lay-off saw Sullivan flash a shot just past the far post.
Next minute United were in front. Sean Brennan won a free-kick wide on the right and, as Mark McNulty and his defence set up to defend what seemed an inevitable cross, Brennan whipped a curling effort straight at the target and found the net gloriously.

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