St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Cork City 0
Mikey Drennan’s first-half penalty was the difference as St Patrick’s Athletic got their campaign off to a winning start at Richmond Park on Friday night.
The striker, newly signed from Sligo Rovers - and a target of Cork City - slotted home just before the half-hour, referee Neil Doyle having awarded the spot kick when Conor Clifford was fouled by Seán McLoughlin.
Prior to that, Cork City had had the better quality of chances. Rightback Conor McCarthy was unlucky to head just wide following a Shane Griffin free kick, while Garry Buckley's header from Dáire O'Connor's cross drew an outstanding save from Brendan Clarke in the Pat's goal.
Simon Madden had gone close for Pat's, firing over the bar, while Ian Bermingham's cross needed a good block from Griffin. It was Madden who was central in the lead-up to the penalty, his low cross for Clifford allowing him to get to the ball before McLoughlin, and then Drennan did the rest.
While the visitors were forced to attack more after that, the rest of the first half brought little and it wasn’t until 13 minutes into the second period that they threatened again, with Kevin O’Connor’s free kick saved by Clarke.
Graham Cummins and debutants Garry Comerford and Liam Nash were brought on as City chased the game and they forced chances with Dáire O'Connor twice close and Conor McCarthy's volley tipped over by Brendan Clarke.
As the end neared, City’s pressure grew and a nice move saw Cummins feed Sheppard but there was nobody on the end of his low cross.
Pat’s almost had a second as Madden’s shot from distance needed a save from McNulty for a corner and though Nash got his head to a Dáire O’Connor cross, he couldn’t keep it on target.
St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke; Madden, Webster, Toner, Desmond, Bermingham; Clifford, Lennon, Forrester (Shaw 68), McCabe (Coleman 90); Drennan (Miele 84).
Cork City: McNulty; McCarthy, Casey, McLoughlin, Griffin; McCormack (Nash 76), K O'Connor (Comerford 71); D O'Connor, Buckley, Tilley (Cummins 62); Sheppard.
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).