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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Sadlier on the double as Saints fall to champs again

St Pat's 1 Cork City 3

FROM THE SPOT: Cork City’s Kieran Sadlier opens the scoring. Pic: Sportsfile
FROM THE SPOT: Cork City’s Kieran Sadlier opens the scoring. Pic: Sportsfile

St Patrick's Athletic are still unable to scratch that itch they get when faced with the footballers from Cork as the Saints' push for a European place suffered some harm with a 3-1 loss at home to the champions.

Liam Buckley's side were level at 1-1 with half an hour to play, but City did what they tend to do, and worked hard enough to get the win which sees them keep pace with leaders Dundalk, this loss the third defeat for Pat's in three meetings with Cork this season.

Kieran Sadlier scored two goals, the second of those a bizarre long-distance shot - very long distance: he fired the ball almost the length of the pitch as Pat's had pushed all men forward, including keeper Tyson Farago, and as the home players chased back it crept over the line.

It was an important win for Cork but one which they had to work very hard for and in terms of stand-out players, it was Pat's forward Thomas Byrne who will go into the notebook of any scouts watching. There was no goal for the former Drogheda player but he showed he is a big talent all the same.

Only 16 seconds had gone when Cork had the chance to get their noses in front. Referee Neil Doyle saw an infringement when Simon Madden got too close to Graham Cummins in the box, pointed to the spot and Sadlier stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

An early lead away from home should have been the cue for Cork to go and put the game to bed, but Pat's kept their heads, stayed in the game and were the better side for long spells.

Thomas Byrne was the focus for everything the home side did, Byrne a constant threat to the City defence.

Ryan Brennan was just wide with an effort for the Saints on 27 minutes, and four minutes later Brennan sent in a decent cross which was just too high for Graham Kelly.

Pat's kept their nerve and City needed a good block from Sean McLoughlin to prevent Brennan getting a shot in just before the break.

The Saints finally drew level, deservedly so, on 61 minutes. The away side did not properly deal with a cross from James Doona, and Conan Byrne was left free to stab home the equaliser.

A point would have pushed Pat's into the top four ahead of Derry City and aided their push for Europe.

But Cork are champions for a reason and they found it within themselves to summon up two more goals.

The first of those was a classic, a fine finish from Jimmy Keohane on 71 minutes, a strike good enough to win any game.

And then in added time, as Pat's pressed forward for an equaliser, Sadlier nicked his second.

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