Monday 18 December 2017

Cork are 4-midable in the cup

Cork City 4 St Pat's Ath 0

Garry Buckley, left, taps in Cork City's opening goal
Garry Buckley, left, taps in Cork City's opening goal
Liam Miller gets away from Killian Brennan at Turners Cross
Cork City's Gary Buckley tackles Aaron Greene
Karl Sheppard skips past St Pat's Ian Bermingham and Lee Desmond
Garry Buckley celebrates after scoring his Cork's third goal

Even the most optimistic Cork fan alive would have struggled to envisage this scoreline after a week where back-to-back league defeats ended their title hopes.

In truth, at half-time last night, even those optimists would have been worried about the Leesiders' cup ambitions following a spell where they rode their luck.

But John Caulfield's charges bounced back off the ropes to send St Patrick's Athletic packing with Garry Buckley bagging a brace and Mark O'Sullivan producing a goal of the season contender. A surprise return and late goal for out-of-favour Billy Dennehy added to the good vibes.

Liam Buckley's troops will now engage in soul searching with their record-breaking run of nine straight wins already a distant memory after Monday's drubbing at Oriel Park.

"It's been a difficult week but we didn't become a bad side overnight," said Caulfield afterwards. "We had a few close shaves but it was comprehensive in the end."

Certainly, there should have been goals in a first half notable for scatty defending and poor finishing as Pats produced the clearest chances.


Three opportunities of note were either wasted or kept out by last-ditch defending. Conan Byrne kicked it off by seizing on a Dan Murray error and then scuffing a one-on-one with Mark McNulty.

Then, Aaron Greene's nod goalwards stayed out via a mishit clearance from Alan Bennett that came off his goalkeeper.

The final let-off was Murray showing the awareness to be in the right place to clear off the line when James Chambers steered a header past McNulty.

Half-time allowed Caulfield to consider his options and he chose to withdraw left winger Kevin O'Connor, switch Karl Sheppard to that side and send in recognised full back John Kavanagh on the right further up the park.

The new arrival succeeded in making life uncomfortable for Ian Bermingham and duly won a free that proved to be the turning point. Ross Gaynor's delivery struck the leg of Greene and the post with Buckley on hand to scramble the ball over the line.

The ugly nature of that strike contrasted dramatically with O'Sullivan's wonderful effort, a right-footed thunderbolt that flew into the top corner.

Cork confirmed their progression when Buckley nodded home from a parried shot. City capped the stunning turnaround when the unselfish Karl Sheppard robbed Lee Desmond and laid it on a plate for substitute Dennehy.

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