Bohs suffer as Cork show their quality
Bohemians 0 Cork City 2
Another lesson in the school of hard knocks for Keith Long's young Bohemians side as, yet again, they tried but were unable to match the top sides in the league.
Cork City came away from Dalymount Park with a 2-0 win with a goal in each half from defender Colm Horgan and top scorer Graham Cummins, a good night all round for the champions as their victory, combined with dropped points for Dundalk at home to Derry City, leaves the teams managed by John Caulfield and Stephen Kenny level on points, teeing up nicely next Friday's battle of the two teams in Turner's Cross.
Watched by a crowd of 2,281, Bohs lost for the second time this week and Long will feel his side could have gained something here, young charges like Dylan Watts, Darragh Leahy, JJ Lunney and Eoghan Stokes once again showing talent, promise and bravery on the ball.
But Cork withstood the pressure when Bohs had the ball, defended when they had to, were clinical in their finishing and a third successive clean sheet will be a delight to boss John Caulfield.
Bohs had lost all of their previous meetings with the league's top three this season so they needed a strong start to get something from their home date with the reigning champions.
But they were a goal down, unluckily so, after only 10 minutes.
Right back Colm Horgan moved into an attacking position, played a one-two with Barry McNamee and set himself up for what was meant to be a tidy cross into the box, aimed at Graham Cummins. But Cummins didn't even get a touch as Horgan's cross went beyond the grasp of keeper Shane Supple and over the line.
This is a young Bohs side but they showed real courage to take the blow of that goal and respond with some attacking football, Dylan Watts starring yet again. On 17 minutes Watts was just wide with a shot, on 25 minutes Keith Buckley set up JJ Lunney but his path to goal was blocked.
On 26 minutes Keith Ward went closest to scoring for the home side, his well-struck effort tipped over by Mark McNulty, the City keeper who would go on to have a busy night. Watts and Stokes, two players recruited by Bohs following spells in England, were working the City defence hard, McNulty again called on to save from Stokes on 32 minutes.
Bohs had enjoyed a good spell of possession but Cork looked sharper after the break, possibly on the back of a lecture from boss John Caulfield.
Sub Kieran Sadlier and Barry McNamee had gone close for City early in the second half but Bohs were caught flat-footed on 66 minutes, when Sadlier's quick throw in fell into the path of Cummins, he shrugged off the challenge of Rob Cornwall and powered forward to beat Supple with a confident strike.
Cummins was substituted soon after and, with a 2-0 lead away from home it was job done for City, though Bohs still had their moments, a lob from Keith Ward on 85 minutes which was well struck but wide of the target and an injury-time strike from the impressive Watts which McNulty saved, Bohs now needing to regroup for Friday's derby away to St Pat's.