Cork City 0
St Pat’s Ath 1
IN a perverse way, this outcome and the end of Cork City’s 13-match unbeaten run could be a blessing in disguise for Tommy Dunne and his team.
The thing is the dreaded draw sequence – seven in the last eight games is over — and City can start afresh when they meet basement club UCD at Belfield this weekend.
Even in defeat, a first since a home loss to Sligo Rovers back on April 20, Cork can search for redemption as they sit four off the bottom of the table tonight.
It took a 68th minute opportunist, half volley winner from one time City target, Christy Fagan to condemn Cork to a home defeat and end that relentless draw sequence that has plagued and haunted the team for months.
City made one change from the team that drew 1-1 at Dundalk with Gearoid Morrissey coming into midfield and with Neal Horgan and Colin Healy ruled out, Johnny Dunleavy started at right-back and man of the match at Oriel Park, Ian Turner kept his place wide on the right.
The Saints made one change from their clash with Hannover with another City target, Anto Flood coming in for John Russell in a five-man midfield.
Cork unbeaten in 13 also had new signing Keigan Parker suspended but he is available for Friday’s away trip to UCD and the Belfield Bowl.
St Pat’s who last played a league game on July 22 and a 1-1 draw with the students were overrun by the home team in the opening quarter and had one or two early scares in their goalmouth.
Daryl Horgan clipped an effort high and wide after just ten minutes spotting Brendan Clarke slightly off his line as the home side started on the offence.
Davin O’Neill skipped past Conor Kenna on the touchline to race in on goal mid-way through but he was unable to pick out team-mate Vinny Sullivan in the box.
Danny Murphy’s 33rd minute free kick found Kevin Murray in a crowded penalty area but with Flood hanging out of his shirt, the City man headed over on the stretch.
Clarke saved well on his near post from O’Neill as half time approached before the Super saints had the two best chances of the half in the five minutes coming up to the break.
Ian Bermingham produced a wonder cross for Fagan, but the one time Cork target, somehow headed over from in front of goal.
Then a miscued goal-kick by Mark McNulty on the call of half-time could have embarrassed the City ‘keeper but Chris Forrester was unable to put the ball in the net much to the relief of the home crowd and the half ended scoreless.
Dan Murray brilliantly played in O’Neill with a ball over the top but the Cobh man shot just wide of the far post in what was the home team’s one gilt edged chance to win the tie.
Fagan’s clinical finish won the game when substitute Darren Meenan’s ball into the box caused havoc at the back and that was that as Cork slumped to a rare home defeat in front of a 2,000 plus crowd.
Teams: Cork City (4-4-2) – McNulty; Dunleavy, K. Murray, D. Murray (capt), Murphy; Turner, Morrissey, Duggan, D. Horgan; O’Neill, Sullivan.
Subs. Lenihan for Turner (74 mins), Kenny for O’Neill (83 mins), Kavanagh, Quinn, Spillane, O’Connell & White (not used) St. Pat’s (4-5-1) – Clarke; O’Brien, Browne, Kenna (capt), Bermingham; Flood, Chambers, Forrester, Bolger, O’Connor; Fagan.
Subs. Coombes for Forrester (half-time), Meenan for Flood (65 mins), Faherty for Fagan (90 mins), Murphy, Hyland & Kelly (not used) Referee: Tom Connolly (Dublin) Official attendance: 2,159.