28 July 2008

Cork City v St Patrick's Athletic Match Report

Here's my match report for ExtraTime.ie

Original article here.

A lively encounter at Turner’s Cross between Cork City and St Patrick’s Athletic ended in a scoreless draw on Sunday evening. With both sides keen to make ground on leaders Bohemians neither will be entirely happy with the outcome, but perhaps St Patrick’s will be the happier having been under the cosh for much of the opening hour.

The 3900 supporters in attendance were in good voice on this fine summer’s night, no doubt buoyed by Cork’s success in the afternoon’s hurling quarter-final.

Denis Behan started up front alongside Dave Mooney, who was looking to continue his remarkable run of goals, and the hosts also had Joe Gamble back from suspension. The visitors started with Jamie Harris paired with Ryan Guy up front, with new signing Jason Gavin starting at the back, and were quite content to park the bus in the first half.

In a game played with good tempo and spirit, remarkably few clear chances were created. Mooney had a couple of half-chances early on, and on 17 minutes Joe O’Cearuill just diverted the ball away from Denis Behan after Darren Murphy tried to find the striker at the back post. On 29 minutes, Joe Gamble came close with a shot from outside the area which went just wide of Barry Ryan’s right-hand post.

A minute later, as City began to exert greater control over the game, Neal Horgan caught the St Patrick’s defence napping with a superb ball over the top to Dave Mooney. However, having timed his run to perfection and controlled the ball well with his first touch, the former Longford man will have every reason to disappointed with his meek finish.

St Patrick’s rarely threatened, and might well have made better use of Ryan Guy’s willingness to run at the home defence.

The best chance came the hosts’ way four minutes before the interval. Danny Murphy whipped in an inviting free-kick from the right, but captain Dan Murray couldn’t take advantage of a free header from 2 yards out.

In the opening phase of the second half, City upped the tempo further and were virtually camped in the visitors’ half for long periods. During this siege, Gavin’s presence and leadership at the back proved vital to the visitors. The former Drogheda man gave a flawless performance, dominant in the air, and impeccable in timing his tackles. On this evidence, his €20,000 move looks to be a shrewd piece of business for the Inchicore side.

The closest that City came to translating their overwhelming territorial superiority came on 58 minutes. First, Dave Mooney made a great run to latch onto Denis Behan’s flick-on, and protested that he had been brought down by the visiting keeper. From the resulting corner, Darren Murphy headed narrowly over at the back post after another great delivery from his namesake Danny.

John McDonnell moved to stem the green tide with a tactical reshuffle, and this soon paid dividends. Having taken O’Cearuill for Glen Fitzpatrick on 56 minutes, he brought on Bobby Ryan for Derek O’Brien with 25 minutes remaining. Guy moved out to the left, with Damien Lynch moving back to right back, and soon City found themselves pegged back in their own half.

Winning every 50/50 ball in the middle of the park, Pat’s made things difficult for the hosts but failed to create much of note. Harris had the ball in the net in the 83rd minute, but the whistle had already gone for offside.

Right at the death, both sides came close to breaking the deadlock. In the final minute, with the hosts piling forward, Darren Murphy drew a fine save from close range from the Pat’s keeper. As the ball pin-balled round the area, Behan’s shot was blocked for a corner.

In added time Pat’s had their best chance as they broke away, but Keith Fahey dragged a decent effort just wide of Devine’s left post.

Cork City (4-4-2): Michael Devine; Neal Horgan, Dan Murray (Captain), Pat Sullivan, Danny Murphy; Liam Kearney, Colin Healy, Joe Gamble, Darren Murphy; Denis Behan, David Mooney.
Subs (all unused): Darragh Ryan, Dave Mulcahy, Cillian Lordan, Mark McNulty, Alan O’Connor.

St Patrick’s Athletic (4-4-2): Barry Ryan; Des Byrne, Jason Gavin, Stephen Paisley, Joe O’Cearuill; Derek O’Brien, Gary Dempsey, Keith Fahey, Damien Lynch; Jamie Harris, Ryan Guy.
Subs: Glen Fitzpatrick for Joe O’Cearuill (55 mins); Bobby Ryan for Derek O’Brien (65 mins).
Not used: Brendan Clarke, Dave Rogers, Stephen Brennan.

Referee: David McKeon.
Official man of the match: Pat Sullivan
Extratime’s choice: Jason Gavin.

(Photograph 'borrowed' from Cork City's website)

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