Report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town 1-4 Cork City
Longford Town scorer: (Williams o.g. 65)
Cork City scorers: (Sadlier 24, Keohane 28, Sheppard 43, 51)
For the second successive year, Longford Town bowed out of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup losing 4-1 at home to Cork City at the City Calling Stadium. Four of the goalscorers from last season’s Cup game between the sides have moved onto pastures new as Kevin O’Connor, Seanie Maguire, and Chiedozie Ogbene have all left Cork, while Eddie Dsane is no longer with the Midlanders.However, Karl Sheppard who scored Cork’s third goal in last year’s tie produced the goods again for the Leesiders with a double salvo to help the cup holders and runaway Premier Division table-toppers progress to the last four of the blue riband competition.
It took the visitors fifteen minutes to settle into the contest but then they completely dominated proceedings and richly deserved the victory.
Morrissey was just wide of the Town post with a seventeenth minute twenty-yard effort and on twenty-two minutes a Griffin pass picked out Dooley whose twenty-five yard strike flashed just inches wide of the Town’s far post.
Cork took the lead in the twenty-fourth minute. A brilliant Keohane shot was superbly tipped around the post by Town stopper Brady, but the home defence were caught napping from the quickly taken corner as Keohane played it short to Sadlier and his left-wing delivery sailed over Brady into the net.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 to Cork as the impressive Griffin found Keohane with a precision cross and Keohane exquisitely curled his shot beyond Brady’s despairing dive into the bottom corner of the Longford net.
The rampant visitors should have scored again on thirty-four minutes as Sadlier’s excellent weaving run eventually resulted in the ball arriving at the feet of the unmarked Dooley inside the Town box but he somehow missed a glorious opportunity.
The Munster side did score a third just before half-time as Sheppard was adjudged to have been fouled by the referee’s assistant, and the striker dusted himself down before despatching the subsequent penalty with keeper Brady diving the wrong way.
It took Cork just seven minutes after the resumption to make it 4-0, as Sheppard scored his second of the match. The high-line Town defence was caught out by McCarthy’s clever ball and Sheppard timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap and he coolly fired a low shot to the bottom left corner of the Longford net.
The Town did get a consolation goal in the sixty-fourth minute. Verdon won possession and sprayed the ball out to winger Hopkins, and his right-wing cross was sliced into his own net by Cork defender Robbie Williams.
The Town rallied after their goal and created some good chances. A crisp shot from Simon flew just past the far post and a David O’Sullivan goalbound shot was deflected narrowly over the bar by Cork defender Delaney.
Cork striker Sheppard was awarded the man-of-the-match accolade, but Keohane, Sadlier and Shane Griffin also impressed for the winners.
So the double is still on for a Cork side who now join league champions Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Limerick in the semi-finals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.
Longford Town: Brady, Friel, Haverty, O’Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Hopkins, Dillon, Zambra, Kehoe, Verdon, O’Sullivan.
Substitutes: Cowan for Dillon (half-time), Chambers for Hopkins (76 minutes).
Cork City: McNulty, McCarthy, Williams, Delaney, Griffin, Bolger, Dooley, Morrissey, Sadlier, Keohane, Sheppard.
Substitutes: Ellis for Dooley (half-time), Campion for Sadlier (76 minutes).
Referee: Derek Tomney