St Pat’s and Cork share the spoils
Honours even at Richmond Park as Cork remain unbeaten
Kenny Browne of St Pat’s denies Cork’s Kieran Djilali. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Cork City 0
Still unbeaten, Cork will have come away the happier of the sides here at Richmond Park with another determined display by John Caulfield’s side at the home of a potential title rival again yielding the point it deserved.
Through most of the 90 minutes they looked like anything more would have been regarded as a bit of a bonus but with the hosts reduced to 10 men late on by the dismissal of Lee Desmond for a second booking, they stepped up their pursuit of the extra two points. St Patrick’s held on for one, though, and they too deserved it.
For the home side there will still be frustration at the failure to build on the wins over Bray and Derry but there were glimpses here against a side better of the sort of form required to push on towards the top of the table if and when Christy Fagan and the rest of the frontline starts to get amongst the goals again.
The defence, at least, coped pretty well this time out with Conor O’Malley looking generally capable between the posts. Desmond was decent too for the 77 minutes he was involved and to judge by this, Liam Buckley may actually have a slightly better squad this year than in either of the past two. Whether his best 11 is good enough to deliver another trophy, though, will only start to become apparent when he finally gets it out on the pitch at the one time.
Having taken points at both Sligo and Shamrock Rovers while scoring just once between the two games, City probably felt a little less urgency about breaking the deadlock this time but after a generally cautious opening spell, Caulfield’s men did go very close to taking the lead shortly before the break when a sweeping move forward ended with John O’Flynn’s low shot being pushed wide.
John Kavanagh took the resulting corner which was helped on to Karl Sheppard six yards out from the far post but the striker’s left footed effort was terribly disappointing given the potential of the situation and the danger was easily cleared.
Not to be outdone, the Dubliners finally forced a good save themselves at the other end with Chris Forrester crossing well from the right and Fagan directing his header just over Mark McNulty when a few feet either side would most likely have left the goalkeeper entirely helpless.
The second half was punctuated by half chances but little of real note with the bulk of the game continuing to be played out in midfield where Liam Miller did a good deal to ensure that the home side never quite got on top in the way they would have liked.
Billy Dennehy was City’s most lively attacking player with the winger cutting inside from the right to good effect more than once and drawing the foul with 13 minutes to play that led to Desmond’s exit.
Aaron Greene took his place at the back as City tried to get themselves more firmly onto the front foot but Sheppard never posed much of a threat after moving in from the left to replace O’Flynn up front and was replaced himself late on by Rob Lehane.
O’Malley and his centre backs held firm, though, and while the Inchicore outfit are now eight points adrift of first place, they may feel they have weathered the worst of the early season storm.
St Patrick’s Athletic: O’Malley; O’Brien, Hoare, Browne, Desmond; Chambers; Byrne, Forrester, Brennan, Greene; Fagan (Kilduff, 90 mins).
Cork City: McNulty; Kavanagh, Bennett, D Dennehy, Gaynor; Miller, Dunleavy (Holohan, 80 mins); B Dennehy, Buckley, Sheppard (Lehane, 87 mins); O’Flynn (Djilali, 58 mins).
Referee: D McKeon (Dublin).