Danny Morrissey 88' -
A late goal from substitute Danny Morrissey secured the victory for Cork City on Tuesday evening, as they saw off Crusaders by a score line of 1-0 in the first leg of the Setanta Cup quarter final at Turner’s Cross.
It was a fairly drab encounter in truth, and for the majority of the game it seemed that no one would be able to find a way through and take the lead. But Cork City manager Tommy Dunne made an inspired change with 68 minutes gone, bringing on Danny Morrissey and Adam Rundle, both of whom had a direct involvement in the winning goal.
The win will have delighted the City faithful as it means that the Rebel Army will head to Belfast on Monday evening for the second leg with a one goal lead in the bag.
Crusaders were forced to make a number of changes, as six key first-teamers were missing due to suspension, and those missing were conspicuous in their absence as the visitors’ looked quite disjointed.
Cork City on the other hand had a near full-strength squad to choose from, and although the performance wasn’t quite as scintillating as that in the previous round, they will be just as pleased with the result.
The first half was a very even, cagey affair. Both teams had their opportunities, but neither could find the cutting edge to really make the other pay. The first real chance of the evening came on 23 minutes and it went to Crusaders. Paul Heatley found Jordan Owens in the penalty area, but Cork centre-half Dan Murray managed to get across just in time to prevent the big striker from having a clean effort at goal.
Just six minutes later, the hosts had a serious chance of their own when Ian Turner, a stellar performer for the Rebel Army so far this season, burst through the middle to find himself alone in the box. But the Cork-born winger just couldn’t manage to get the ball past Yohann Lacroix on two occasions. The Crusaders goalkeeper parried away the first time, and watched the ball sail harmlessly over the crossbar the second.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between for the remainder of the first half, with both sides testing their luck from long range. Gearoid Morrissey came agonisingly close for City on the stroke of half time, however. Stepping inside onto his left foot just outside the box, he sent a delicate curled effort hurtling towards the bottom left corner of the net, but Yohann Lacroix was there once again to keep things scoreless.
Minutes after the restart the visitors came agonisingly close to taking the lead. Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty passed straight to Crusaders’ David McMaster, but the ‘keeper made up for his error with a superb save to keep out the opposition midfielder.
Then, just four minutes later, Cork City had a great opportunity of their own. Colin Healy passed to Daryl Horgan, who managed to send a dipped effort at goal but the ball flew just over the bar, drawing a series of ‘oohs’ from the home faithful.
The game was beginning to become increasingly stretched, with Cork City doing most of the pressing and Crusaders looking dangerous on the counter-attack. Just as the evening looked to have fizzled out, City created a real chance. Danny Murphy swung an excellent ball into Ian Turner, who rose highest but sent his glancing header agonisingly wide of the post.
Then, with just two minutes left to play, Cork City took the lead. Adam Rundle collected a short corner from Danny Murphy, before whipping in a cross to the back post where fellow substitute Danny Morrissey happily headed into the back of the net to send the City fans home happy.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Dan Murray, Kevin Murray, Danny Murphy; Ian Turner (Adam Rundle, 80), Gearoid Morrissey, Colin Healy (Danny Morrissey, 68), Shane Duggan, Daryl Horgan; Daryl Kavanagh (Denis Behan, 68).
Subs not used: Kevin Burns, Darren Dennehy, Garry Buckley, Danny Furlong.
Crusaders: Yohann Lacroix; Gareth McKeown (Eamon McAllister, 58), David Magowan, Paul Leeman, David Gibson; Matthew Snoddy, Joshua Robinson, Jordan Owens, Craig McLean; David McMaster, Paul Heatley.
Subs not used: Jamie Mitchell, Adam Wright, Jack McCready, Ryan McCready.
Referee: Alan Kelly.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Gearoid Morrissey (Cork City).