John O’Flynn may have played in the first half for Cork City at the Brandywell on Friday night, but the Cork City striker played a pivotal role in securing this narrow victory.
Indeed, the number 13 may be considered unlucky for many, but O’Flynn’s 13th minute strike kept his side in contention with Dundalk at the top of the table.
Indeed, the man from Cobh netted his first goal for Cork following his return from Exeter City and that striker secured what could prove to be a pivotal three points come the end of the season.
Michael Duffy, Danny Ventre and Philip Lowry all managed to get shots on target during the early stages but Cork keeper Mark McNulty was not seriously troubled.
O’Flynn then stunned the attendance of 2,200 when breaking deadlock with a well worked goal.
Following a Dan Murray clearance from defence, Mark O’Sullivan chested the ball into the path of Josh O’Shea on the left wing and having got the end-line, his teasing cross was met by the advancing O’Flynn.
Timing his run to perfection, O’Flynn displayed his predatory instincts when getting to the ball first to produce a superb finish with his right foot.
And Cork continued to push on and in the 21st minute O’Flynn got another shot on target after Derry defender, Dean Jarvis had lost his footing but keeper, Gerard Doherty, parried the ball wide at the expense of a corner.
Two minutes later Cork were under pressure when Derry put together a fine flowing move but when the ball was played into the path of McEleney, he failed to get the necessary power into his shot and Brian Lenihan whipped the ball to safety.
In the 26th mihute Derry forced their way forward and when Barry McNamee played Jarvis in his shot was superbly blocked by Mark McNulty.
Stephen Dooley was next to try his luck in the 34th minute but again the Cork City keeper was well placed to deal with the shot.
The home side continued to pressurise and when McEleney was set up by Dooley, his right foot shot screamed over the crossbar from 18 yards.
With O’Flynn failing to reappear for the second half, possibly having taken a knock, Derry continued to battle their way back into the game and in the 64th minute they really should have levelled.
McEleney played the perfect pass into the path of new signing, Shaun Kelly, but the full-back blasted the ball into the side netting when he really should have done better.
McNulty pulled off a sensational save in the 79th minute when touching McEleney’s dipping free-kick over his crossbar and one felt it was to be Cork’s night..
McEleney set up Dooley in the 86th minute but his header was easily while Mark Timlin’s shot skimmed off the crossbar with a shot-cum-cross in the 89th mintue.
Derry City: Doherty; Kelly (Boyle, 74), Byrne, Barry, Jarvis (Timlin, 80); Ventre (Curran, 90), McNamee; Dooley, Lowry, Duffy; McEleney.
Cork City: McNulty; Lenihan, Muirray, Dennehy, Gaynor; Dunleavy, G. Morrissey; O’Shea (McSweeney, 80), Kearney (D. Morrissey, 66), O’Flynn (Kavnagh, h/t); O’Sullivan.
Referee: Mr. D. Tomney (Dublin).