An experienced Cork side, 17 games into their league campaign, prevailed against United’s youngsters thanks to set-piece headers from Kevin Murray and Andy O’Connell. Warren Joyce made one change from the starting XI that beat Longford Town 1-0 on Monday, with Reece James replacing the injured Charni Ekangamene.
Watched by a 6,000-strong crowd that included the former Reds defender Paul McGrath, United made a bright start with Adnan Januzaj and Joshua King going close in the opening five minutes.
Jonny Sutherland was almost embarrassed by a speculative Kalen Spillane shot from 30 yards in the 10th minute, but the United goalkeeper recovered quickly to gather the ball at the second attempt. Vinny Sullivan should have opened the scoring for the Leesiders in the 21st minute when he reacted first to a Ian Turner free-kick from the left, but the Cork striker’s instinctive volley went wide of Sutherland’s goal.
Sutherland was then forced into a sharp save at his near post in the 27th minute after Cork wide man Daryl Horgan had cut inside Michele Fornasier on the left of the area. But from the subsequent corner, Cork defender Murray climbed highest at the far post to emphatically head Turner’s deep set-piece past Sutherland for the opening goal.
Inspired by their lead, the Airtricity League side started to shoot on sight. Former Celtic and Republic of Ireland midfielder Colin Healy saw a 31st minute effort from the right-hand edge of the United area whistle just wide, then Danny Murphy forced Sutherland into an ungainly save nine minutes later with a drive from the opposite flank.