Cork City 4-0 St Patrick's Athletic
Defending champions St Patrick’s Athletic are out of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup after Cork City recorded a 4-0 win at Turner’s Cross.
A sluggish first half saw the teams level at the interval, but a brace of goals from Garry Buckley, split by a superb strike from Mark O’Sullivan and a late goal from Billy Dennehy meant the Leesiders ended a tough week with an excellent win.
Buckley poked home on 48 minutes to put the hosts ahead.
O’Sullivan nailed a 30-yard effort three minutes later before Buckley scored his second with a half hour remaining.
Billy Dennehy then marked his return to first-team action with the night’s fourth goal on 89 minutes.
Already down to a bare-bones squad, John Caulfield made two changes to his injury-ravaged side by bringing Colin Healy and Michael McSweeney into his starting XI. Out-of-favour Billy Dennehy, who hadn’t played for the club since the first leg of their Europa League game against KR in July, was named on the bench.
Pat’s boss Liam Buckley included Ger O’Brien, Jason McGuinness and Killian Brennan in his team with Sean Hoare, Shane McEleney and Jamie McGrath the players to lose out.
The hosts started the game brightly in front of a crowd of 1,778 and almost made an early breakthrough.
Liam Miller’s free-kick found Karl Sheppard in the Pat’s box. The 24-year-old took a touch before firing his effort off the inside of Brendan Clarke’s leg and out for a corner.
O’Sullivan thought he had added to his season’s tally with 15 minutes on the clock. From Colin Healy’s shot, Buckley directed a long-range effort at goal. However, as the effort drifted wide, O’Sullivan poked a leg out to fire home only to see the offside flag waved immediately.
Healy threatened next for the home side. Picking up a ball from fellow former Ireland international Miller, City’s number seven blasted a shot at Clarke, who deflected the attempt out for a corner.
That, however, was as good as it got for Caulfield’s men in the first half. Pat’s slowly worked their way into the contest and Alan Bennett was forced to clear his line under pressure from Aaron Greene with 31 minutes gone.
Five minutes later, it was Dan Murray who had to protect his goal as he cleared a header from James Chamber away from danger. Greg Bolger then tried an audacious chip over the head of Mark McNulty just before half-time but it was to no avail.
Caulfield introduced John Kavanagh for Kevin O’Connor at the break and the youngster made an immediate impact. He broke down the right, only to be fouled by Saints full-back Ian Bermingham. Gaynor’s subsequent set-piece bounced off Greene’s leg and the post before being knocked to the back of the net by Buckley.
And, as the home crowd was still celebrating the opening goal, O’Sullivan was on hand to blaze a stunning piledriver beyond Clarke’s reach and double City’s advantage.
Clarke had to be at his best two minutes later when a ball from Healy to Sheppard allowed the latter fire on target.
The third goal arrived regardless. Miller set Gaynor through on goal on 63 minutes, and though his shot was saved, Buckley was in the right place to guide home the rebound.
Stunned by three goals in 15 minutes, the Saints did try and respond. Chris Forrester hit the side netting of McNulty’s goal on 68 minutes, while a deflection diverted an excellent free-kick from Chambers off target 10 minutes later.
The final say went to City though. Sheppard picked up a loose ball from Lee Desmond and raced into the box before supplying a neat pass to Billy Dennehy, who slotted the ball home and then turned to his team-mates to celebrate.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Michael McSweeney, Alan Bennett, Dan Murray, Ross Gaynor; Karl Sheppard, Colin Healy, Liam Miller, Garry Buckley, Kevin O’Connor (John Kavanagh ’46 (Billy Dennehy ’69)); Mark O’Sullivan (Liam Kearney ’76).
Substitutes: Darren Dennehy, John O’Flynn, Alan Smith, Danny O’Connell.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Jason McGuinness, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Greg Bolger; Conan Byrne (Sean Hoare ’66), James Chambers, Killian Brennan (Jamie McGrath ’55), Chris Forrester; Aaron Greene (Morgan Langley ’84).
Substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Sam Verdon, Darragh Markey, Hack Bayly.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin