Belfast Telegraph

Linfield won't give up the fight after Cork first leg defeat

Linfield 0-1 Cork City

By David Mason

Linfield boss David Healy was in a defiant mood after his team's 1-0 defeat to Cork City in the Europa League first qualifying round at Windsor Park.

Sean Maguire grabbed a second-half winner from the penalty spot to hurt the Blues' hopes of reaching the next stage.

Linfield will now make the long trek to Cork for next week's second leg with the odds stacked against them, but Healy won't throw in the towel.

"Our fitness levels told in the end," said the former Northern Ireland striker. "Cork have a lot of quality - it was probably the draw we didn't want because they are well into their season.

"However, our boys ran themselves into the ground. I still feel we have got a chance at Turner's Cross.

"The pressure is all on Cork. Hopefully, they are thinking the job is done. We'll go down there with our chests pumped out ready to go. We're not giving this up... we'll have a right go at them."

And Healy hailed goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who impressed on his first appearance for Linfield after returning from the Euro 2016 finals with Northern Ireland.

"Roy was inspirational," said Healy. "He has been training on a constant basis at a good level, but he hasn't played a lot. It was a big call to throw him in. But given the way he performed, it wasn't really a gamble.

"Roy pulled off a wonder save late in the second-half - it really kept us in the tie. He's an organiser and a leader."

It was Cork who asked all the early questions. Former Coleraine and Derry City player Stephen Dooley had Carroll scampering across his line after only three minutes but found the side netting.

After weathering the early storm, the Blues began to show a little bit of impetus. The lively Paul Smyth was hauled down by Gearoid Morrissey and from Ross Gaynor's free-kick, Mark McNulty tipped over.

Linfield then had loud appeals for a penalty when Jamie Mulgrew was felled by Kenny Browne, but Belgian referee Bart Vertenten wasn't impressed.

Linfield should have been in front on 22 minutes. Gaynor whipped in a corner which was met by Mark Haughey, but Smyth sent his effort over.

After a frenetic first-half, the pace dropped after the interval. Carroll wasn't called upon until 59 minutes when he left his line to punch away a Greg Bolger free-kick.

But the Blues were undone 60 seconds later. Stephen Lowry lunged into a mis-timed tackle on Dooley, and a spot-kick was given. Maguire confidently stepped up to find the net.

Lowry then cleared off the line and Carroll made another wonder save to keep the tie alive.

Linfield: Carroll, R Glendinning, Quinn, Haughey, Stafford, Millar (R Clarke 84), Mulgrew (Kee 56), Lowry, Waterworth, Smyth (Burns 72), Gaynor. Unused subs: Deane, M Clarke, McLellan, Murray

Cork City: McNulty, Bennett, Bolger, Beattie, Dooley, O'Connor, G Morrissey, Sheppard (D Morrissey 46), Browne, Maguire (Healy 90), Buckley (O'Sullivan 60). Unused subs: Coffey, Holohan, McSweeney, Turner

Referee: Bart Vertenten (Belgium)

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph