St Patrick’s Athletic 0
Cork City 3
Ben Blake reports from Richmond Park
CORK CITY CONTINUED their perfect start to the 2017 campaign with a 10th consecutive league victory at Richmond Park tonight.
John Caulfied’s side had to scrap tirelessly throughout the 90 minutes and found an opener on 62 minutes thanks to a Josh O’Hanlon own goal.
Karl Sheppard then added a second in the dying minutes — his sixth league goal of the season — and Garry Buckley wrapped things up in injury-time.
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson and club consultant Peter Ridsdale were among the 1,768 in attendance, with reports that the Championship club are keen on adding Sean Maguire to their ranks.
Liam Buckley, whose side drew 1-1 with Galway United last time out, made four changes with Michael Barker, Sam Verdon, Darragh Markey and O’Hanlon all coming in. Christy Fagan and Darren Dennehy remained out through injury.
Cork had Jimmy Keohane ruled out with a shoulder problem, but Steven Beattie passed a fitness test to start at full-back. Captain Alan Bennett, Kevin O’Connor, Gearoid Morrissey, Conor McCormack and top scorer Maguire returned to the team after Monday’s EA Sports Cup win over Limerick.
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson and Peter Ridsdale watching on.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
O’Hanlon had a bright start for the home side but his shot on goal after five minutes — the first of the night — was a simple save for Mark McNulty.
Michael Barker won the Saints a free-kick just outside the box on 25 minutes, and Kurtis Byrne stepped up but couldn’t hit the target.
The league leaders should really have scored three minutes later when O’Connor’s cut-back found Sheppard. The Dubliner, who hit a stunning strike in Dalymount Park a week ago, blazed over on his weaker left foot.
As the half drew to a close, Cork saw an effort come back off the post. Dooley’s cross was met by the head of Ryan Delaney and the ball struck the upright before a goal-line scramble ensued.