THERE was heartbreak for Limerick FC on Monday night in the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup.
Pat Scully’s Limerick side led early in the opening half but the home side in Turner’s Cross battled back to force extra time.
Then just three minutes into extra time, Cork City’s Vincent Escudé-Candau scored from the spot after Brian McCarthy brought down Vinny Sullivan.
Then as Limerick sought an equaliser, Graham Cummins hit on the break to seal a 3-1 win for Cork City, who advance to play Sligo or Derry in the final.
Almost on the stroke of full time Padraic Quinn looked to have won it for Limerick FC but with the goalkeeper beaten, Cork defender Danny Murphy somehow got back to clear off the line.
Before that, Joe Gamble and Jeffrey Judge went closest for Limerick in a second half that lacked the attacking flare of the opening half, in front of an attendance of over 2000.
In the opening half it was Limerick that drew first blood when Peter Hynes opened the scoring on 13-minutes. Denis Behan and Padraic Quinn created the opportunity with Hynes curling his finsh low to the net beyond the dive of Mark McNulty in the Cork goal. Joe Gamble went close to increasing the lead but it was Cork that found the net in the 29th minute.
Derek O’Brien was pulled down by Peter White, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot and Davin O’Neill made no mistake from the penalty spot, sending Barry Ryan the wrong way.
Pat Scully had made four changes to his side from the weekend league action. Back into midfield came Joe Gamble to join Denis Behan in facing their former side. Lining up opposite Gamble and Judge in midfield was Limerick native Shane Duggan, who has been in fine form for Cork City this season. Last night’s Cork game came just 72-hours after Limerick kick-started their Airtricity First Division campaign with a 2-1 win away to Waterford United.
This Saturday night Limerick are back on their travels when they journey north up the west coast to play Finn Harps in Finn Park.
LIMERICK - Barry Ryan; Peter White, Andrew Bhandarkar (John Frost), Brian McCarthy, Pat Purcell, Shane Tracy, Padraic Quinn, Joe Gamble, Jeffrey Judge (David O’Leary), Peter Hynes (Sean Brosnan), Denis Behan.
CORK - Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Gavin Kavanagh, Kalen Spillane, Ian Turner, Shane Duggan, Derek O’Brien, Greg O’Halloran, Davin O’Neill, Graham Cummins, Vinny Sullivan.