Date: 7:30 p.m. May 9, 2009
Venue: Richmond Park
A completely one sided game saw three good goals, a red card and the pressure on Saint’s manager Jeff Kenna grow with every minute that passed by.
Cork’s opening goals from Denis Behan and Greg O’Halloran were the result of the home team’s inability to defend corners and a virtuoso run and finish from Faz Kuduzovic to make the score line three nil after only 34 minutes ended the game as a contest.
It was all too much for many Saint’s fans and certainly too much for Stuart Byrne who must have known he would be sent off for a dangerous and petulant foul on the aforementioned Kuduzovic.
It was Cork who made the better start and had an opportunity to open their account on 14 when striker Kuduzovic played a neat one two with Denis Behan and was bearing down on goal until a late intervention from right back Stephen Maher rescued the home side.
When a Cork City corner was headed just wide of the goal two minutes later Kenna’s side looked rattled and from the resulting corner Gary Rogers flapped at a Colin Healy delivery and Denis Behan was on hand to side foot into the top corner at Roger’s back post.
The burly target man then choose to needlessly goad the home fans who told him exactly what they thought of him.
Things were to get worse for the under pressure home team as Pat Sullivan slalomed through the Pat’s midfield only to run into Byrne, as the last point of defence, who hacked his clearance out for another corner.
From the resulting Healy corner, Greg O’Halloran found himself totally unmarked to power a header past the helpless Rogers.
The travelling Cork fans, who were in full voice all evening, wasted no time in rubbing Kenna’s nose in it and the inevitable cries of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ resonated around Inchicore.
And that same song was to be heard again in the 34th minute as the lively Kuduzovic picked up possession wide on Pat’s left hand side and with Maher backing off he progressed goalward and from about 20 yards sent a dipping, curling, picture book goal into the home side’s net, amazingly for the third time in just over half an hour.
It is often said it never rains but it pours and the storm was becoming of biblical proportions when Pat’s best midfielder in the first half Byrne scythed down Kuduzovic under the nose of the referee who wasted no time is showing Byrne the red card after 39 minutes.
Byrne’s frustrated act of self indulgence was not appreciated by the home fans who berated the player as he left the pitch and luckily for the aghast supporters the referee’s half time whistle came before the Rebel Army could make things any worse.
There was no reason to anticipate any sort of a come back from Kenna’s men and that assumption was proven to be correct upon the resumption. Cork began the second period keeping possession well and attacked at will, while Pat’s appeared intent on giving the ball back to their guests on the rare occasions that they actually had it.
Some Pat's fans in the West Stand did their best to keep themselves entertained by singing along to drumbeat as the second-half wore on, certainly nothing on the pitch was giving them anything to shout about. The game unfolding before them had long since ended as a contest.
The game was virtually being played at walking pace throughout the second 45 minutes as Pat’s obvious damaged limitation exercise well, worked. Protecting what they did not have as it were.
Kyle Moran’s selfless running as a lone striker following Byrne’s red card saw him earn a polite ovation when substituted on 78 and that was really the only thing for the Richmond Park faithful to get excited about from a footballing point of view all night.
When the final whistle eventually came a solitary ‘Kenna out’ chant was about as purposeful as Kenna’s team’s performance. Cork City go from strength while St.Patrick’s Athletic are making a beeline for the relegation dogfight.
Man of the Match: Faz Kuduzovic, Wonderful goal and a real handful for the Pat’s defence.
St.Pat’s: Rogers, Maher, Haverty, Gavin, Ryan, O’Connor, Cawley, Byrne, Quigley, Moran (Stevens ’78), Guy. Subs not used: Lester, McCann, Fitzpatrick, Haran
Cork City: O’Connor, Murphy, O’Halloran (Long ’86), Murray, Healy, Gamble, Silagailis (Kiely ’78), Kuduzovic (O’Connor ’83), Lordan, Behan, Sullivan. Subs not used: McNulty, Deasy
Referee: Richie Winter