Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Classy Cork turn on style to kill off holders Crues

Crusaders 1 Cork City 3 (Cork City win 4-1 on aggregate)

In what was a thoroughly depressing night for Irish League football in the Setanta Cup, it was Crusaders' 3-1 defeat to Cork City that was probably the most disappointing.

The cup holders have a first class record at Seaview and a wonderful record in the all-Ireland competition, so it was more than possible that the Hatchetmen could overturn their 1-0 first leg defeat at Turner's Cross.

For much of the match a comeback looked entirely possible, but second half goals from Daryl Horgan and Daryl Kavanagh ended Stephen Baxter's men hopes of retaining the trophy.

In truth, Crusaders were the better team for much of the match but their League of Ireland counterparts were more clinical in front of goal.

The first chance of the match arrived in the ninth minute when Timmy Adamson drilled a low shot towards goal from the edge of the box, only for goalkeeper Mark McNulty to make a smart save.

In the 31st minute the Crues burst forward, when Paul Heatley's cross was directed towards the back post, but Jordan Owens' header was weak and aimless.

Heatley was in the thick of the action in the 40th minute when he sprinted forward with the ball and unleashed a powerful shot, but keeper McNulty pushed the ball away with a diving save.

Crusaders gave Cork a fright in first half injury time when Craig McClean put a hopeful cross into the box for Owens to challenge for.

Under pressure from the Northern Ireland international, McNulty dropped the ball but after a moment of panic he gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Timmy Adamson looked the most likely to break the deadlock and he had the first genuine chance of the second half. His dipping half volley went just over the City crossbar.

With Crusaders piling on the pressure in search of the equaliser they left themselves open to the sucker punch and that duly arrived in the 63rd minute. Denis Behan crossed the ball into the box for Daryl Horgan to side foot home from 15 yards.

As if that wasn't punishment enough, the north Belfast side went two behind moments later when Daryl Kavanagh scored a phenomenal goal in the 67th minute. Kavanagh's curling effort from the angle, 25 yards from goal, was the brightest moment in a gloomy night.

Keeper Yohann Lacroix might have travelled the globe to play his football but it's doubtful he'll ever see a sweeter striker fly past him than the one that left Kavanagh's right boot. Crusaders pulled a goal back from Paul Heatley in the 89th minute. He found the net with a low drive from the edge of the box.

Cork scored a third in injury time when David Magowan headed a Neil Horgan cross into his own net. In truth, nothing after Horgan's 63rd minute goal mattered. It was that effort that killed the tie and killed off Crusaders' hopes of repeating May's incredible feat at The Oval.

No Irish League side can hope to emulate Crusaders' victory against Derry City that day. Heavy first leg defeats for Linfield and Glentoran have all but ended Irish League interest in the Setanta Cup.

More worryingly, an overall score of 12-2 to the League of Ireland over the three ties, makes grim reading for the IFA Premiership.

CRUSADERS: Lacroix, Magowan, Coates, McClean, Morrow, Robinson, Caddell, Snoddy (65 Rainey), Heatley, Adamson (71 McAllister), Owens.Subs: McBride, Wright, Mitchell, McCrea, McMaster.

CORK CITY: McNulty, Turner, Murphy, Murray, G Morrissey, Duggan, D Kavanagh (70 D Morrisey), Behan (78 Furlong), N Horgan, D Horgan (71 Rundle), Buckley. Subs: J Kavanagh, Kenny, Burns, Kennedy.

Referee: David Malcolm (Bangor).