Europa League: Cork City defeat Linfield at Windsor Park

Sean Maguire’s second half penalty gives Cork the edge ahead of second leg at Turner’s Cross

Linfield’s Andrew Waterworth gets the better of  Cork’s Steven Beattie. Photo: William Cherry/Inpho

Linfield’s Andrew Waterworth gets the better of Cork’s Steven Beattie. Photo: William Cherry/Inpho

 

Linfield 0 Cork City 1

Cork City claimed the bragging rights in last night’s All-Ireland Europa League clash at Windsor Park in Belfast.

A second half penalty from Sean Maguire gave City a thoroughly deserved 1-0 win, one that means David Healy’s Linfield will require a minor miracle at Turner’s Cross next Thursday if they are to knock out John Caulfield’s Cork.

While the first half was an evenly matched affair, Cork were the dominant force after the break. Considering this was Linfield’s first game of the season, while Cork are midway through their league campaign, perhaps this was no surprise.

Linfield’s best chance of the game fell to teenage sensation Paul Smyth, after Ross Gaynor’s 22nd-minute corner-kick caused his old side problems. Unfortunately for Smyth, his close-range header looped over bar.

While chances were few and far between, City had more of the ball in the second half, probing the Linfield defence were possible.

Linfield gifted Cork a golden opportunity in the 63rd minute when midfielder Stephen Lowry fouled his former Coleraine teammate Stephen Dooley inside the box. With Dooley trying to reach the byline, Lowry brought him to ground with a mistimed tacked.

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll has saved more than his fair share of penalties throughout his career, but he could do nothing to stop Sean Maguire’s confident spot-kick.

Lowry made amends in the 71st minute when he headed Kenny Browne’s goalbound header off-the-line, after Kevin O’Connor’s corner-kick caused havoc inside the Linfield area.

Ultimately Cork City just had a little too much for the northerners, and it’s hard to see how Linfield will be able to turn things around in Cork next Thursday.

Linfield: Carroll; Reece Glendinning, Stafford, Haughey, Quinn; Miller (R. Clarke 85), Lowry, Mulgrew (Kee 56), Gaynor; Smyth (Burns 72), Waterworth

Cork City: McNulty, Bennett, Bolger, Beattie, Dooley, O’Connor, G. Morrissey, Sheppard (D. Morrissey HT), Browne, Maguire (Healy 89), Buckley ( O’Sullivan 60)

Referee: Bart Vertenten (Belgium)

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