Cork City advanced to the semi-final of the Setanta Cup as second half goals from Daryl Horgan and Daryl Kavanagh, and an own goal from David Magowan, saw them eventually overcome a determined Crusaders side at Seaview Stadium in Belfast.
Tommy Dunne made two changes to the side that triumphed by the only goal last week in Turners Cross with Gary Buckley and Denis Behan coming in for Dan Murray and Colin Healy and they started brightly with Daryl Kavanagh and Buckley shooting wide in the first five minutes.
Crusaders then threatened with Timmy Adamson firing in a rasping drive that Mark McNulty got down well to parry and then gather at the second attempt. The home side pressed hard for an aggregate equaliser but were limited to a succession of crosses that the Cork defence managed to deal with without much trouble. The game was being played mostly in the middle third with both teams lacking the quality to unlock the dominant defences.
Cork almost produced the telling pass on seventeen minutes when Daryl Kavanagh was put through on goal but Crusaders captain Colin Coates, who missed the first leg through suspension, made a last ditch tackle to deny the former St Pat’s striker a shot on goal.
The visitors had to endure sustained pressure from the Irish League side for the remainder of the half but McNulty was never really troubled until five minutes before the break when he again needed two attempts to bring Paul Heatley’s fiercely struck shot under control.
The second half started in much the same fashion with Crusaders attacking without creating clear cut chances until an incisive Cork break on 62 minutes culminated in Daryl Horgan steering Denis Behan’s cross past Yohann Lacroix from sixteen yards.
Five minutes later Daryl Kavanagh fired in a spectacular shot from 25 yards to give his side an unassailable three goal aggregate lead and mean the hosts would have to score four times to have any hope of retaining the title they won in last year’s competition.
The two goal scorers were withdrawn shortly afterwards as thoughts, no doubt, turned to Sunday’s opening league clash with Limerick at Thomond Park, but substitute Danny Morrisey almost extended Cork’s lead on two occasions as he proved a worthy replacement for the industrious Kavanagh.
Crusaders pressed hard for the goal that their endeavours on the night deserved and they were finally rewarded in the 88th minute when Paul Heatley raced clear to drill a shot past McNulty from sixteen yards.
The two goal lead was restored on the stroke of full time as David Magowan stuck out a leg to divert the ball into his own net and give Cork a slightly flattering, but convincing nonetheless, 4-1 aggregate victory.
Crusaders: Yohann Lacroix; Joshua Robinson, Colin Coates, David Magowan, Craig McClean; Paul Heatley, Chris Morrow, Declan Caddell, Jordan Owens; Matthew Snoddy (David Rainey 65), Timmy Adamson (Eamonn McAllister 71).
Subs not used: Jack McCrea, Adam Wright, James Mitchell, David McMaster, Stephen McBride.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Kevin Murray, Gary Buckley, Danny Murphy; Ian Turner, Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Duggan, Daryl Horgan (Adam Rundle 71); Denis Behan (Danny Furlong 78), Daryl Kavanagh (Danny Morrissey 71).
Subs not used: Kevin Burns, John Kavanagh, Colman Kennedy, Stephen Kenny.
Bookings: Gearoid Morrissey (55)
Referee: David Baxter.
Attendance: 600 (estimate).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Kevin Murray (Cork City).