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Tunnel bust-up but Sean Maguire ensures Cork's unbeaten run extends to 25

St Pat’s had Owen Garvan sent-off after half-time tunnel clash.

Image: Oisin Keniry; ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Cork City 1

St Patrick’s Athletic 0

CORK CITY STRETCHED their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League to 12 points as they defeated St Patricks Athletic at Turners Cross.

Sean Maguire’s penalty late in the first half was enough to extend City’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 25 matches at the expense of St Pats, who had Owen Garvan sent off following an incident in the tunnel at half time.

The home side started slowly after their impressive victory against Levadia Tallinn in the Europa League last Thursday night which ensured progression to the second qualifying round where they will meet Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.

They almost fell behind after 30 seconds when Graham Kelly raced clear on goal but the midfielder was denied by an excellent Mark McNulty save.

Pats looked bright in opening exchanges as Kelly again had an effort saved shortly before Stephen Dooley fired City’s first strike tamely at the keeper.

Stephen Dooley with Jordi Balk St. Patrick Athletic’s Jordi Balk challenges Cork City's Stephen Dooley during the sides' clash at Turner's Cross. Source: Oisin Keniry; ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Karl Sheppard almost brought the game to life with a stunning opener after 22 minutes but the striker’s superb shot from the right of the area struck the inside of the far post.

Maguire twice forced Pats keeper Conor O’Malley into making saves and deep into injury time at the end of the first half City finally ended the stalemate.

The Preston North End bound striker slotted his penalty into the bottom right corner after Steven Beattie was fouled in the penalty box for his 19th league goal of the season.

Pat’s were dealt a massive blow during the interval as they were reduced to ten men when Garvan was given a straight red following an incident in the tunnel.

The Dublin club never recovered from that as John Caulfield’s side took complete control of proceedings.

City somehow failed to add further goals although Sean Maguire was unfortunate not to get his 38th league goal for the club in his 49th game as his clever lob came back off the inside of the right post late on.

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Conor McCarthy, Ryan Delaney, Kevin O’Connor; Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley; Karl Sheppard (Achille Campion 55), Kieran Sadlier (Shane Griffin 73), Stephen Dooley (Greg Bolger 85); Sean Maguire.

St Patricks Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Michael Barker, Jordi Balk, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Owen Garvan, Killian Brennan; Conan Byrne (Kurtis Byrne 79), Graham Kelly, Jonathan Lunney (Billy Dennehy 38) ; Christy Fagan (Josh O’Hanlon 65).

Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).

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