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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

Euro Vision: Cork City spoil Roy Carroll's Linfield debut with vital away win in Belfast

Sean Maguire’s spot-kick proved the difference between the sides.

Aaron Burns with Kenny Browne and Kevin O’Connor Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

SEAN MAGUIRE’S PENALTY just after the hour mark was enough to give Cork City a vital away victory in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round clash with Linfield at a wet Windsor Park.

The key moment came when Stephen Dooley was brought down by Stephen Lowry in the area and the 22-year-old striker made no mistake from the spot – sending the ball right down the middle as Roy Carroll – making his debut for the Northerners – dived to his left.

It had been a tight affair up to that point with both sides carving out some chances.

An early Ross Gaynor free-kick was tipped over by Mark McNulty while Carroll did well to deal with a decent effort from Karl Sheppard at the other end.

But the hosts should’ve taken the lead before the break when Paul Smyth was left unmarked at the far post following a corner but couldn’t hit the target with the goal at his mercy.

Paul Smyth puts his header over the bar Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

The Leesiders took control once going ahead though and almost doubled their lead with 20 minutes left when Kenny Browne’s header was cleared off the line by Lowry – who went from villain to hero.

John Caulfield’s side continued to push as full-time edged closer and Carroll was forced to make an excellent save from Kevin O’Connor’s well-struck volley.

City failed to grab a second but they still have the edge ahead of next Thursday’s return leg at Turner’s Cross.

Linfield XI: Caroll, Stafford, Haughey, Waterworth (c), Lowry, Millar (R. Clarke, 84′), Mulgrew (Key, 56′), Glendinning, Quinn, Gaynor, Smyth (Burns, 72′).

Subs (not used): Deane (GK), McLellan, M. Clarke, Murray,

Cork City XI: McNulty, Bennett, Bolger (c), Beattie, Dooley, O’Connor, G. Morrissey, Sheppard (D. Morrissey, 45′), Browne, Maguire (Healy, 89′), Buckley (O’Sullivan, 59′).

Subs (not used): Coffey (GK), Holohan, McSweeney, Turner.

Referee: Bart Vertenten (BEL)

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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