Date: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 25, 2009
Venue: Richmond Park
Cork City's preparations were overshadowed by more financial worries before the game, as their team bus was delayed due to outstanding payments owed to the bus company.
The first chance of the game came St Pat’s way. A long ball from keeper Brendan Clarke was headed on by Mark Quigley to Ryan Guy, but his cross was blocked for a corner. Dempsey’s corner was easily cleared.
Mark McNulty nearly got his side into trouble shortly afterwards. Having come out from his goal to clear a Stuart Byrne long ball, his miscued clearance stayed in play, and nearly allowed St Pats the opener, but nothing came of it.
When the opening goal of the game arrived on nine minutes, it was no surprise who was on the end of it. Davin O’Neill had seen a lot of the ball in the opening moments and was in the right place to score the opener. A loose ball bobbled around outside the St Pats penalty area, before O’Neill picked it up, continued his run towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable low strike to the bottom left corner, giving Brendan Clarke no chance.
Cork nearly doubled their lead on 16 minutes when O’Neill’s shot was blocked after a terrific run through the middle, but Silagailis was too slow to the rebound.
St Pats were nearly caught on the break moments later. Mark McNulty easily collected a Stuart Byrne corner and quickly set Billy Dennehy away down the left. His run however was halted by Damien Lynch, who picked up a yellow card for his troubles.
St Pats had calls for a penalty midway through the first period turned down. A low Ryan Guy cross seemed to strike a hand but Referee Tom Connolly awarded a corner kick.
St Pats levelled the score three minutes before half time. Stuart Byrne rose highest in the Cork City box to beat Mark McNulty to Ryan Guy’s right wing cross and head goal ward. A desperate Greg O’Halloran raced back to punch the ball off the line. The referee assistant immediately signalled and Tom Connolly awarded the penalty and issued O’Halloran with a red card. Mark Quigley stepped up to send McNulty the wrong way and bring the score level.
St Pats could have taken the lead before half time when Mark Quigley broke through a reshuffled City defence. Quigley went down under pressure from two City defenders but had his appeals turned down.
The Saints started to use their man advantage as they took control of the game. A quick corner found Gary Dempsey on the edge of the penalty box, but his drilled shot drifted right and wide of the posts with McNulty scrambling across his goal.
A superb four man passing move nearly had Quigley in again but his effort was blocked for a corner, which Jason Gavin headed over subsequently.
Cork’s first real attempt of the second half came with 15 minutes remaining. Danny Murphy surged forward from defence only to see his long range shot go over the bar.
For all St Pats possession in the second half, Mark McNulty was rarely tested in the City goal. For Cork, a decent point having played the second half with ten men. Cork’s fans also made their feelings known about Chairman Tom Coughlan as “We want Coughlan out” rang around Richmond Park at the final whistle.
St Patricks Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Stuart Byrne, Damien Lynch, Gary Dempsey, Mark Quigley, Ryan Guy, Enda Stevens, Declan O’Brien, Darragh Ryan (Bobby Ryan 73’), Noel Haverty ( Stephen Maher 29’), Jason Gavin. Subs not used: Gary Rogers, John Lester, Mark Leech.
Cork City FC:Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Stephen Mulcahy, Greg O’Halloran, Kevin Long, Joe Gamble, Guntars Silagailis (Shane Duggan 44), Billy Dennehy, Cillian Lordan, Gareth Cambridge (Faz Kuduzovic 73’), Davin O’Neill. Subs not used: Neal Horgan, Dan Connor, Paul Deasy.
Referee: Tom Connolly
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Kevin Long. Young centre half was at the heart of the City defensive wall which withstood St Pats attacking pressure in the second half. A great prospect for the future.