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Match Report – Cork City v Kerry FC




Kerry FC got their 2024 League of Ireland season underway on Friday night as they took on Cork City for the first time ever. Over three hundred away tickets were sold for the away end of Turners Cross and the travelling Kingdom supporters were in full voice from the minute they entered the ground to get behind the team.

Kerry had a near full strength squad for the match with Jack Kavanagh missing out after he picked up a slight hamstring injury in the previous Tuesday’s training. Valerii Dolia also did not feature in the matchday squad with no time frame yet on his debut for his new side.

In the build-up to the game, First Team Coach, James Sugrue conveyed the squad’s excitement for the occasion and gave his men the task of being a giant killer. Kerry FC captain Andy Spain also talked about his goals for the year and insisted he and his teammates want to show the league that they are not there “to make up the numbers” and they are there “to compete as well.”

First Half:

The game started very evenly throughout the opening quarter hour. Evan McLaughlin for Cork City was perhaps lucky to escape further punishment from referee Daniel Murphy as he was cautioned in the opening five minutes for an elbow on Ronan Teahan.

Sean McGrath had the best chance for either side in the eleventh minute when he made a fantastic run and created the chance for himself. Once he arrived inside the area he had moved to a tight angle and Cork City goalkeeper Brad Wade saved the shot without much hassle to put the ball out behind for a corner which the home side then dealt with.

In the fifteenth minute Cork City would take the lead through Jack Doherty. Doherty gave Kerry FC headaches last year when he was a part of Cobh Ramblers and there was no drop off in his performances from last season if last night was anything to go by. A persistent Doherty kept the ball at his feet for a while inside the area before pulling the trigger and firing his shot into the bottom right corner giving Antonio Tuta little chance.

Kerry kept plugging away but unfortunately just eleven minutes after the opener, Kerry would go 2-0 down through Doherty once again. A breakaway situation caused a four on three counterattack for Cork. A nice passage of play led Doherty to get on the ball again, he took a nice touch to get around Sam Aladesanusi and had plenty of time to pick his option before finishing again into that bottom right corner. 

A couple of slight errors can really go against you when playing against the likes of Jack Doherty. The end of the first half was sounded through Daniel Murphy’s whistle and Kerry trailed 2-0 to Cork City.

Second Half:

Victor Udeze made way for Ryan Kelliher at half time being the only substitution of the half. Kerry FC deserve a lot of plaudits in their second half performance for how they carried themselves throughout the remaining forty-five minutes. The defensive shape was rock solid, and they did not let Cork get any sort of chance without really making themselves work for it.

Kerry FC captain Andy Spain came remarkably close to pulling a goal back on the fifty-sixth minute as a corner swung in by Sean O’Connell on the right side reached Spain who did well to get up and get something on the ball. Unfortunately, his goal-ward header was directed away, and Cork City cleared their lines, early signs of a positive second half start for the kingdom.

Nathan Gleeson had Kerry’s last chance on goal on the hour mark. A fast three pass move from the Kerry attack led to Gleeson having room over on the left wing. He moved forward well but his left foot shot steered wide of the goal. 

Kennedy Amechi, Ethan Kos, and Daire McCarthy made it onto the pitch with about twenty minutes to go hoping to give Kerry another avenue to maybe pull one back. Cork City had a couple of close chances but were superbly dealt with by Kerry’s back five who were a lot more compact and settled in the second half.

A second half clean sheet for Kerry FC but a 2-0 win all the same for Cork City on the opening night. A lot of positives for Kerry FC to take out of the game especially before they play Bray Wanderers next Friday night in Mounthawk Park. It was always going to be a challenging opening game but as Conor McCarthy said in his post-match interview, “we’re not going to let one game define our season.”

Cork City Team: 1. Brad Wade, 2. Harry Nevin, 4. Cian Coleman (C), 5. Charlie Lyons, 8. Evan McLaughlin, 14. Nathan Wood, 16. Sean Murray, 19. Jack Doherty (Goal ‘15, ‘26), 22. Cathal O’Sullivan, 28. Arran Healy, 29. Matthew Kiernan.

Subs: Aidan Dowling, John O’Donovan, Barry Coffey, Conor Drinan, Niall Brookwell, Josh Fitzpatrick, Jaden Umeh, Cian Murphy, Harvey Skieters.

Kerry Fc Team: 1. Antonio Tuta, 15. Kevin Williams, 18. Samuel Aladesanusi, 5. Andy Spain, 3. Sean O’Connell, 8. Ronan Teahan, 8. Steven Healy, 7. Sean Mcgrath, 13. Nathan Gleeson, 11. Daniel Okwute, 22. Victor Udeze.

Subs: Lee Axworthy, Rob Vasiu, Ethan Kos, Ryan Kelliher, Kennedy Amechi, Cian Brosnan, Daire McCarthy, Graham O’Reilly, Ferdia O’Brien.

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