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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 26 May, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog.

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This evening’s game gets underway at 6.00pm.

Here are tonight’s teams…

AEK Larnaca: Juan Pablo, Marios Antoniades, Joan Truyols, Daniel Mojsov, David Catala, Larena Jorge, Joan Tomàs, Ivan Tričkovski, Hector Hevel, Vincent Laban, Florian

Cork City: Mark McNulty, Jimmy Keohane, Ryan Delaney, Conor McCormack, Kevin O’Connor, Greg Bolger, Garry Buckley, Steven Beattie, Gearóid Morrissey, Stephen Dooley, Sean Maguire

In what will be an emotional night for Preston-bound Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor in their final ever game for Cork City, manager John Caulfield said his side need to be dangerous on the counter:

“We have pace and energy but we need to be compact”, he said.

“We will be dangerous, certainly on the counter attack, with the type of players we have. But it is going to be difficult.

“When you’re playing teams with five internationals who are of a higher standard than you, you have to play to your best.

“You need everything going well for you. Of course we’ll have a go off it and we’ll go out with a gameplan but it is going to be difficult. There’s no point in saying otherwise.”

Shamrock Rovers are already a goal down against Mlada Boleslav in Prague and now require at least three to make it through.

With Dundalk exiting last night versus Rosenborg, Cork could be the League of Ireland’s last chance at extending this European summer.

John Caulfield, deep in thought, surveys his horizons before kick-off…

John Caufield before the game Source: Sakis Savvides/INPHO

Some Cork City supporter enjoying the sunshine. It’s always shorts weather in Cyprus.

Cork City fans before the game Source: Sakis Savvides/INPHO

And the man of the moment Sean Maguire gets some much-needed water on board with five minutes to go until we get underway. It’s a hot one tonight.

Sean Maguire before the game Source: Sakis Savvides/INPHO

Mark McNulty receiving some last minute words of wisdom.

John Caufield with goalkeeper Mark McNulty Source: Sakis Savvides/INPHO

The teams are now out on the pitch and we are moments away from kick-off. A big, big night ahead for the league leaders.


Positive opening from Cork from the tip-off. The ball comes to Sean Maguire on the edge of the box and he tries to find a teammate with a neat scoop but the ball dribbles harmlessly out of play.


There aren’t too many City supporters at tonight’s game but what memories they will come away with were Cork to pull something off tonight.


Chance! A header from Florian sees Mark McNulty called into action. He tips the ball from landing in the bottom corner from a fine, arrowing header and out for a Larnaca corner.


Chance again! Another fine save from the City goalkeeper as Larnaca up the ante from the off. The ball dips dangerously and rapidly but McNulty manages to tip it over the crossbar. Larnaca looking dangerous inside the opening five minutes.


Larnaca enjoying the upper hand at the moment but a good low cross from Gearoid Morrissey sees Cork come out of their shell and attack their opponents.

It’s been an open game but Larnaca are very dangerous when they’re forwards combine against a Cork defence which is feeling the need to press high, leaving space behind.


Joan Tomàs uses the space afforded to him and tries to thread a through ball to Florian but there’s too much weight on the pass. A few worrying gaps in the City defence there.


A general lull in play over the course of the last ten minutes.

Cork will know this is going to be a long night. Unlike Shamrock Rovers they did not concede an array of away goals. A defeat in Turners Cross was far from ideal and perhaps unexpected.

But from the early showings in this game Cork do have the capacity to test Larnaca here. The hosts have enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but have made nothing of it so far.


Hector Hevel looks dangerous on the right wing for Larnaca. He crosses towards the back post but Gearoid Morrissey commands the ball and is fouled after taking it out of harm’s way.


CHANCE! Against the run of play Cork break. A massive chance comes and goes as Stephen Dooley dances on the edge of the area following some fantastic set-up play from Sean Maguire.

Dooley dodges one challenge, and then another. But he drags his shot just wide when the bottom corner was his intended target. It remains 0-0.


Meanwhile in Prague Shamrock Rovers remain 2-0 down (5-2 on aggregate). Stephen Bradley’s side need at least three goals with twenty minutes remaining.


Ivan Tričkovski takes the ball with his right, setting up a snapshot of a volley with his left. It flies just wide of Mark McNulty’s post.


Shot! That’s better from Cork as Jimmy Keohane lays the ball off to Garry Buckley. He takes a touch to set himself up 25 yards from goal but balloons his effort flying over the bar.

Cork are creating chances here.


Kevin O’Connor has been lively. He takes a corner which earns another. The latters sees the ball drop dangerously five yards from goal but the wing-backs effort is cannoned off the back of a Larnaca defender.

O’Connor claims handball but the referee waves play on.


Conor McCormack clears the ball but it is swept back in towards the back post. The ball changes direction as striker Florian Taulemesse nudges it home past McNulty. Could that be the killer-blow for City? They are now 2-0 down and now need at least two goals.


The goal came just as Cork were beginning to look threatening. Sean Maguire had laid the ball off to Jimmy Keohane just yards out and with the goal at his mercy. He hit a tame effort which simply didn’t have the power to beat Juan Pablo.

And with that Larnaca go up the other end and take the lead. Just like that Cork’s good start has been wiped away in an instance.

Having said that, two goals and they are through. With a striker of Sean Maguire’s quality and form on the field of play… anything can happen.


Cross towards the back post flies wide from Larnaca. They continue to maintain the upper hand while Cork look slightly rattled. They will be thankful to make it to the break at 1-0 in order to regroup.


Cork get a free kick 30 yards from goal. Captain Greg Bolger sweeps it in but Larnaca maintain a structured high line which allows goalkeeper Pablo to come and punch clear.


Shot! Larena Jorge takes the ball onto his right and goes for goal from just outside the box. His strike is sweet, but always rising, as it flies over the crossbar to the relief of Mark McNulty.


Second half: We’re back underway…


Kevin O’Connor and Sean Maguire enter their final 45 minutes in Cork colours. Two goals and their through, but it’s a big ask.


Some promising early passages of passing play from City. Gary Buckley and Gearoid Morrissey linking up nicely in the final third.

It seems that John Caulfield has commanded his side to go for this straight from the off. Positive early signs but there is a lot of space being left behind.


Conor McCormack is fouled for a clamp on his ankle by goalscorer Florian.

He brings his studs down along the City defenders leg, but the Larnaca striker stays down himself. That appeared a red card offence for the striker but no booking is shown.


Steven Beattie with a shot but it flies wide. A good attitude from Cork to commit men forward here but they need a goal and they need it fast.


Goalscorer Florian Taulemesse wins a header over Conor McCormack.

Florian Taulemesse wins a header over Conor McCormack Source: Sakis Savvides/INPHO


More positive play from Cork but the Larnaca supporters are not happy. Joan Tomas goes down under a light challenge from Steven Beattie.

There was hardly anything in that from Beattie but Tomas is making the most of it.


A gentle reminder that the winners of tonight’s tie will play either Rabotnicki or Dinamo Minsk in the third qualifying round.


Double substitution for Cork City: Kieran Sadlier and Achille Campion are on for Stephen Dooley and Gary Buckley after 61 minutes.


More good play from Larnaca. Tričkovski is found free on the edge of the box who passes the ball to his left where Hector Hevel is also unmarked.

Larnaca toying with Cork at the moment as they look helpless. John Caulfield’s side have not had a shot on goal in 15 minutes and are struglling to get Sean Maguire on the ball to cause havoc.

The sun continues to beat down as the humid conditions take their toll on a wiltering Cork.


Substitution for Cork City: Karl Sheppard replaces Jimmy Keohane after 66 minutes.


Appeals for a penalty from Cork. Karl Sheppard makes an immediate impact and delivers a cross towards the back post.

Sean Maguire tries to get a head on it but goes down inside the area. The referee waves play on with 20 minutes left for Cork to make something of this.


Sean Maguire wins a corner kick off Larnaca captain David Catala, but Kevin O’Connor’s delivery is poor and goes straight into the arms of goalkeeper Pablo. A poor delivery from the defender.


It’s simply now or never for Cork. Larnaca have retreated into their own half over the course of the last five minutes and are happy to hold onto their two goal cushion.

Still, Cork have failed to create anything clear-cut to test Pablo between the sticks.


Has this been a disappointing summer for League of Ireland sides in Europe? Well, we’ve the rest of the summer to debate it if things remain the same in Cyprus. There’s 12 minutes for Cork to cause an upset.


Cork looking very tired as Larnaca push forward with so much ease. Hector Hevel has a shot at goal which is deflected wide for a corner kick.


It seems tonight’s goalscorer Florian is not a popular man this side of the continent. Ten minutes to go…


The minutes are ticking on and sadly it seems like it’s all over. Ten minutes including injury time to go, but Cork just cannot break down a stubborn Larneca who do have a second goal in their armoury if Cork continue to push men forward.


Shot! Larnaca continue to punish Cork.

Ivan Tričkovski traps the ball on the edge of the area and aims for the bottom corner. It’s a well hit effort but McNulty is equal to it and stretches well to palm it away to safety.


There will be four minutes of additional time to come here.


A cross deep into the box sees Achille Campion’s arm meet goalkeeper Pablo in the face. The game will end with boos and hisses from the home supporters.


That’s it for Cork and sadly that’s it for Irish sides in Europe this season.

Derry were the first to go, followed by Dundalk last night. Shamrock Rovers went down 2-0 in Prague earlier tonight (5-2 on aggregate) and now Cork too bow out of Europe for another year.

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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