By Henry O’Donovan
Cork City were 1-0 winners against St. Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross on Sunday afternoon. A Sean Maguire penalty on the cusp of half time was enough to secure the win for the Leesiders.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors. One minute in, a defensive mix up saw Christy Fagan through on goal, and Mark McNulty was called into action to make the save.
City recovered from this early attack and began to assert control over possession. Good build up play from the home side found Stephen Dooly in space in the box, but his shot was straight at Conor O’Malley.
John Caulfield’s men had another chance in the 17th minute. Sean Maguire received the ball in the penalty box and shot, but his left footed shot was easily gathered by O’Malley.
St Pats had another chance in the 21st minute. In a corner routine straight off the training ground Conan Byrne found Graham Kelly at the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked.
Karl Sheppard came within inches of giving the home side the lead two minutes later. A through ball from Kevin O’Connor took the Pats defence out of the game and put Sheppard through one-on-one. He was unlucky to see his shot smash the post, the result of a fingertip save from O’Malley.
City had two more chances either side of the half hour mark, with both Maguire and Buckley having shots blocked.
Maguire had two more chances ten minutes later. The first saw his shot smothered at his feet by O’Malley and the second effort produced another fine save from the Pats netminder.
The incident around which the match would pivot occurred in the minute before half time. Steven Beattie skipped past Billy Dennehy in the penalty area and was brought down by the St. Pats man. Maguire put the ball on the spot and sent the keeper the wrong way to give City the lead going into half time.
St. Patrick’s Athletic started the second half with ten men. Owen Garvan received a straight red card in the tunnel following an altercation with Beattie.
Playing against ten men and with a one goal lead, City controlled the possession for most of the second half, creating chances at will.
Ten minutes into the second half Achille Campion was introduced and he almost had an immediate impact. As the ball bounced around the box it came Campions way, but he ballooned his close range volley over the bar.
Maguire almost added a second in the 69th minute. He found himself on the left side of the box and attempted a deft chip that had O’Malley caught in no mans land, but the ball hit the upright.
A Kevin O’Connor free kick ten minutes before the end forced O’Malley into another top class save. From the right side of the box it looked to be curling into the top right corner only for the St. Pats goalie to claw it away.
Referee: Ben Connolly.