Cork City's hopes of avoiding relegation from the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division suffered a massive blow as they were deservedly beaten by St Patrick's Athletic at Turner’s Cross.

An Alan Bennett own goal and a neat finish from Jordan Gibson inside the opening ten minutes was enough to earn Pat's the three points at the expense of bottom side City, who responded in vain through Gearoid Morrissey just before half time.

Prior to kick-off, a minute's silence was held in honour of John Kennedy, Chris Herlihy and Michael Hayes, who all sadly passed away recently. 

Pats boss Stephen O'Donnell made one alteration from his starting XI that impressively defeated Shelbourne 2-0 at Richmond a week ago and they raced out of the traps here.

It took them just eight minutes to break the deadlock and it came in fortuitous circumstances as goalkeeper Mark McNulty failed to claim captain Robbie Benson's in-swinging corner, with the ball then striking Alan Bennett before crossing the line in front of the Shed.

City manager Neale Fenn also made just one change from his side that drew 1-1 away to Finn Harps in their potentially automatic relegation scrap last Sunday with Uniss Kargbo replacing Dale Holland.

The visitors continued to pile forward and with just 10 minutes on the clock, they were two goals to the good following some more slack defending by the Leesiders.

Kargbo wanted more time to settle into the game but Benson wasn’t going to give him any as he pressed the youngster high up the pitch, deflected the clearance into the path of Jordan Gibson, who composed himself before lifting the ball past McNulty and into the roof of the net.

City’s rearguard couldn’t handle the pressure being applied to them by the men from Inchicore and they almost conceded a third after 20 minutes. 

This time it was Chris Forrester winning the ball in the attacking third, pinching it from Cian Coleman on the edge of the box and he hit the inside of the far right post before Jason McClelland could only send his rebound wide of the bottom right corner.

They squandered another glorious chance midway through the half but Georgie Kelly somehow fired over from a few yards out after being teed up by Forrester.

City undeservedly were still in the game and shortly after Kevin O’Connor flashed a long-range half volley wide of the top right corner they reduced the deficit thanks to Gearoid Morrissey just before half time.

Fenn made two early substitutions on the half-hour mark and one of them was involved in the goal as Henry Ochieng’s long free broke to Morrissey on the edge of the area and his low drive deflected past the keeper to give his side hope.

City started the second half with more urgency and they twice threatened to snatch an equaliser just past the hour but after O’Connor’s free deflected just wide, Joseph Olowu failed to trouble the keeper after being picked out by Ochieng.

But Pat's always looked the more likely to score the fourth goal of the game but Forrester and Gibson missed two excellent chances to seal the victory.

With the game drawing to a close, Morrissey almost grabbed a fortunate leveller but it wasn’t to be as his cross dropped over leaving City with a lot to do if they are to avoid relegation with only five games remaining.

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Alan Bennett, Gearoid Morrissey, Dylan McGlade (Henry Ochieng 33), Cian Coleman (Cory Galvin 87), Daire O’Connor (Ricardo Dinanga 33), Kevin O’Connor, Deshane Dalling, Joseph Olowu, Uniss Kargbo, Kit Elliott (Scott Fenwick 72).

St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Rory Feely, Lee Desmond, Jamie Lennon, Robbie Benson, Georgie Kelly (Billy King 75), Luke McNally, Jason McClelland, Chris Forrester (Darragh Markey 91), Shane Griffin, Jordan Gibson.

Referee: Derek Twomey.