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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 24 May, 2020

Clarke's 90th-minute strike earns a point for 10-man Pat's in Cork

Graham Cummins had given City the lead from the penalty spot following Dave Webster’s dismissal.

Gary Shaw with Alan Bennett St Patrick's Athletic's Gary Shaw and Alan Bennett of Cork City challenge for a header. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Cork City 1
St Patrick’s Athletic 1

Paul Dollery reports from Turner’s Cross

AN OFF-THE-BALL INCIDENT in the 34th minute looked set to be decisive as Cork City aimed to avenge their defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic on the opening night of the season.

After Pat’s defender Dave Webster was sent for an early shower, the home side were presented with an opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot in their bid to bounce back from successive defeats to Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers.

Graham Cummins duly obliged, but City were forced to settle for a share of the spoils after substitute Dean Clarke took advantage of some sloppy defending in the final minute of normal time to earn a draw for the visitors.

The game was watched by a crowd of 2,406 at Turner’s Cross, on a night when approximately 150 members of Cork City’s hardcore support vacated their usual vantage point in the Joe Delaney Stand — named after the father of FAI Executive Vice-President John Delaney — as a means of protest against Irish football’s governing body.

Those supporters relocated to a section of the Derrynane Stand, where a banner displaying the words ‘Delaney Out’ appeared. After Gardaí intervened, the banner wasn’t seen again. Reports from those in the vicinity suggested that at least one individual was ejected from the ground.

David Webster reacts after receiving a red card from Sean Grant Dave Webster sees red. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Cork City manager John Caulfield made three changes to the team that started the 3-1 loss to Rovers here seven days ago. Sean McLoughlin was relegated to the bench, Karl Sheppard dropped out due to injury and James Tilley was suspended.

Garry Comerford made his full league debut in midfield, club captain Alan Bennett returned to the centre of defence, while 18-year-old Cian Murphy was handed his second league start up front.

After looking lively in the early stages, Murphy hobbled off in the 25th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He was replaced by 19-year-old Darragh Crowley, who made a good impression in his first appearance in a league fixture.

Pat’s boss Harry Kenny was forced to make one adjustment from last week’s 1-0 victory against champions Dundalk. With playmaker Chris Forrester marked absent, Darragh Markey was drafted in for the visitors to support Gary Shaw in attack.

Kenny persisted with a three-man defence, which was bolstered when necessary by their two recognised full-backs in Simon Madden and Ian Bermingham. However, Webster’s dismissal eventually saw the visitors revert to a traditional set-up with four across the back.

Graham Cummins scores a penalty Graham Cummins converts from the spot. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Having watched his team produce some abject performances recently, Caulfield sought to freshen up their approach by starting with a variation of a 4-4-2 formation. As Comerford and Conor McCormack sat deep in central midfield positions, Gearoid Morrissey and Garry Buckley were more advanced from out wide.

Pat’s threatened with just over a minute on the clock, when Rhys McCabe volleyed wide after Mark McNulty saved a header from Kevin Toner. McCabe was involved again just before the half-hour mark, his cross from the left finding Lee Desmond, who was unable to direct his header on target.

Dan Casey and Graham Cummins had both gone close for the hosts on 16 minutes. When Casey headed Comerford’s long throw off the post, the rebound fell to Cummins. However, his attempted header also struck the woodwork.

The first half’s major talking point occurred with 11 minutes remaining. After Cummins went to ground in the box, referee Sean Grant was summoned by one of his assistants. Grant immediately signalled a penalty kick, before producing a red card for Webster.

Although he guessed the right way, Pat’s goalkeeper Brendan Clarke was unable to deny Cummins, who executed the kick well to score his second league goal of the season.

Dean Clarke scores a late equaliser Dean Clarke equalises for St Patrick's Athletic. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

In first-half stoppage time, Clarke produced a magnificent save to ensure that the Inchicore side weren’t faced with a two-goal deficit at the interval. Comerford’s 30-yard strike was heading for the top corner until the veteran goalkeeper touched it off the crossbar. Toner’s crucial challenge prevented Crowley from scoring with the follow-up.

Despite being hindered by City’s extra man, Pat’s enjoyed plenty of possession, without creating many clear openings to test Mark McNulty. Gary Shaw got his head to a McCabe cross shortly after the restart, but his effort went straight at the City goalkeeper.

The closest City came to a second goal was on 70 minutes, when Cummins headed Gearoid Morrissey’s cross narrowly wide. The failure to double their lead ultimately proved costly.

Dean Clarke, a 73rd-minute replacement for Darragh Markey, capitalised on confusion between Alan Bennett and Conor McCarthy by poking the ball home from close range to earn a point for a Pat’s side who were rewarded for battling gamely to defy their numerical disadvantage.

CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Conor McCarthy, Alan Bennett, Dan Casey, Kevin O’Connor (Shane Griffin, 81); Garry Buckley (Matt Gillam, 90), Conor McCormack, Garry Comerford, Gearoid Morrissey; Cian Murphy (Darragh Crowley, 26), Graham Cummins.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke; Dave Webster, Kevin Toner, Lee Desmond; Simon Madden, Rhys McCabe, Jamie Lennon (James Doona, 85), Conor Clifford, Ian Bermingham (Ciaran Kelly, HT); Darragh Markey (Dean Clarke, 73); Gary Shaw.

Referee: Sean Grant. 

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Bernard Jackman to discuss Izzy Folau’s impending sacking by Australia and all the week’s news on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Paul Dollery

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