St Patrick’s Athletic produced a much improved performance at Turners’ Cross tonight as a disappointing Cork City were defeated by Jeff Kenna’s team by one goal to nil.
Kenna made four changes from the embarrassing defeat to Galway United seven days previous and it paid off less than ten minutes into this encounter. It was ex-Cork player Darragh Ryan, who struck the fatal blow in just the 9th minute. Alan Cawley took a corner from the left and it was met by Ryan, who drove the ball into the bottom corner of the net to the delight of the travelling St. Pats’ supporters.
Cork didn’t pose any sort of attacking threat in the early stages and it wasn’t until the 20th minute that the home side brought Gary Rogers into action. Billy Dennehy, the home sides only constant threat and scorer in last weeks 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers, done well down the left before cutting in and shooting straight at Rogers who saved with ease.
Kyle Moran almost caught out Dan Connor, with his speculative effort midway through the opening half, while at the other end of the pitch Faz Kuduzovic was wasteful from a dead ball situation on the half-hour mark.
Dennehy had a good chance on 38 when Faz Kuduzovic played in an excellent through ball. However, the wingers' shot was just wide of the mark. The two paired up again a couple of minutes later, and on this occasion the attack resulted in a corner, which then came to nothing as Cork ended the half with a decent attacking spell. Danny Murphy also hit a powerful left footed shot goalwards in the final minute of the half but it was narrowly wide.
With less than 60 seconds gone in the second half, Pats could have doubled their lead. Dan Murray failed to clear and Gints Friemains, who was on trial with the Leesiders during pre-season, missed the target with Dan Connor in the Cork goal stranded.
Other than that, Cork dominated the early exchanges of the second period and the home side had a great chance in the 50th minute. Billy Dennehy crossed from the left, and after a flick on by Kuduzovic, Pat Sullivan missed an absolute sitter at the back post.
When Dennehy was upended on the edge of the area, resulting in a booking for David Partridge, Faz Kuduzovic stepped up to take the free kick but the ball was narrowly over the bar as Cork looked to find an equaliser.
Dan Murray then played to Silagailis who flicked on to Kuduzovic but on this occasion the Bosnian born strikers effort was just wide of Gary Rogers as Pats set out to defend for the entire second half. Danny Murphy done well down the left in the 62nd minute and he forced Gary Rogers into making a save, after cutting in from the wing but the Cork threat ended there.
St. Pat's did manage to threaten Dan Connor in the 70th minute, when Damian Lynch fired straight at ex Drogheda goalkeeper after good work from Mark Leech.
Pats defended well in the latter stages, a remarkable contrast with last weeks game against Galway, and Cork never really looked like equalising after Kuduzovic was replaced- the Bosnian showed his disgust by hitting the dugout as he left the pitch. The 3000+ crowd left Turners Cross disappointed, although they might have been slightly amused after Pat Sullivan was booked by referee Derek Tomney in the final minute for time wasting.
To add to their woes, Cork’s Latvian international, Robert Mezeckis, was taken away by ambulance straight after the final whistle with what looks like a serious leg injury. He went down in the final seconds of the match and was stretchered off into an ambulance before being taken to the CUH. All in all it was a woeful night for the Leesiders, but for Pat’s it was a major improvement on week one and they will look to build up some momentum with a trip to Sligo in eight days time.
Cork City: Dan Connor; Neal Horgan, Dan Murray, Robert Mezeckis, Danny Murphy; Pat Sullivan, Colin Healy, Joe Gamble, Billy Dennehy; Guntars Silagailis, Fahrudin Kuduzovic (Denis Behan 73).
Subs not used: Mark McNulty (gk), Cillian Lordan, Greg O’Halloran, Davin O’Neill.
St. Patricks Athletic: Gary Rogers; Damien Lynch, Jason Gavin, Jamie Harris, Enda Stevens; Darragh Ryan, Alan Cawley, Gints Friemains (Garreth O'Connor 65), David Partridge; Kyle Moran (Andy Haran 89), Mark Leech (John Lester 81).
Subs not used: Noel Haverty, Stephen Fitzpatrick.
Referee: Derek Tomney
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Billy Dennehy (Cork City) - one of very few positives for the home side.