REPORT | As you were as Dundalk FC see off Cork City to get Perth’s regime off to a winning start

FAI President’s Cup 2019 | Cork City 1–2 Dundalk FC

The Vinny Perth-era officially kicked off in the same way the Stephen Kenny era finished as Dundalk saw off bitter rivals Cork City to pick up some silverware.

The surroundings and the competition may not have been on a par with the Aviva Stadium and the FAI Cup final last November but the images of Perth, trophy in hand, being serenaded by the Dundalk fans at full-time showed what it meant to everybody in black and white to win this year’s President’s Cup.

Both clubs made changes over the winter months, the most notable departure being that of Kenny, but 26 of the 28 players who featured in that final were still available to the new Dundalk head coach and his opposite number, John Caulfield.

Caulfield did his best to fan the flames beforehand, welcoming ‘John Gill, the players and supporters of Dundalk to Turner’s Cross’. Perth did get a mention, deep in the second paragraph!

The Leesiders boss handed new boys Daire O’Connor, James Tilley and Dan Casey their first taste of this fixture. For Dundalk, it was very much a case of as you were, with Perth going with the same that completed the double at the Aviva.

Dundalk controlled much of the first half with Patrick Hoban’s serving notice of what was to come when he rose to meet Michael Duffy’s corner in the 10th minute only to see his header crash back off the far post. Duffy then curled a free just past Mark McNulty’s left-hand post.

The hosts looked lively without really carrying a threat in the final third and Dundalk took the lead their performance deserved when Massey took advantage of some questionable marking to smack a Duffy corner past McNulty with his head at The Shed end.

Tilley, on loan from Brighton, had a good chance to test Gary Rogers with a free-kick in a dangerous position four minutes before the break but it lacked direction and Dundalk took a two-goal lead into the break thanks to Hoban’s 75th goal for the club in stoppage time.

Duffy provided the assist but the genesis was a sumptuous pass from Chris Shields that found the winger on the left. Last year’s PFAI Player of the Year collected, threw a shimmy and delivered, Hoban flashing a brilliant header past McNulty.

That looked to be that but, to their credit, the Rebels produced a spirited second-half display and with Kevin O’Connor back for his second spell at the club, they caused Dundalk problems with Conor McCarthy going close with a volley.

O’Connor made a real game of it with a stunning free-kick that left Rogers helpless in the 65th minute and he almost brought the house down with a long-range effort that had Gary Rogers at full stretch to keep out.

Dundalk lacked the composure and incisiveness they showed in the opening 45 minutes and Perth introduced Sean Murray in a bid to regain some stability in the middle of the park.

The hosts, with Daire O’Connor impressing, huffed and puffed towards the end but Dundalk saw it out to win the trophy for the first time since 2015 and get Perth’s regime off to the best possible start.

CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Conor McCormack (Kevin O’Connor 62), Gearoid Morrissey; Daire O’Connor, Garry Buckley, James Tilley; Graham Cummins. Subs not used: Tag Ryan (GK), Colm Horgan, Alan Bennett, Darragh Rainsford, Ronan Hurley, Cian Murphy.

DUNDALK FC: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Dean Jarvis 90); John Mountney, Patrick McEleney (Sean Murray 68), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 83). Subs not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Daniel Kelly, Stephen Folan, Daniel Cleary

REFEREE: Robert Hennessy.

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