Sunday 26 February 2017

McMillan magic not enough as gallant pat's fall short

St Patrick's Athletic 2
Cliftonville 0
(Cliftonville win 3-2 on aggregate) Setanta Cup Rd 1, 2nd leg

After receiving a 3-0 pummelling in Belfast last week, St Patrick's Athletic seemed to be on a hiding to nothing going into last night's second leg at Richmond Park.

As it turned out, their riposte was gallant but, ultimately, the damage had been done.

As season openers on home turf go, this was a vigorous clash and sparks were flying from the start.

Looking to counter the deficit early on, St Pat's had their opponents on the ropes from the sixth minute, when Anto Murphy directed his header just wide from Danny North's floating free-kick.

David McMillan almost bagged himself an early contender for goal of the season on 29 minutes, but his finish, after a stupendous backward flick over his head, veered just inches past John Connolly's post.

Dave Mulcahy finally broke the deadlock four minutes before the break when he squeezed the ball inside Connolly at the back post after Murphy's long throw-in.

Pat's enjoyed the vast majority of possession in the second half, and McMillan finally capitalised on 80 minutes.

His strike, after great work from both Stephen Bradley and Derek Pender, was clinical, but the hosts' feverish efforts to regain parity in the tie were terminated by the clock.

St Patrick's Athletic -- Rogers, Pender, E McMillan, Kenna, Shorthall; Murphy (Keegan 67), McFaul, Mulcahy (Bradley 56), Doyle; D McMillan, North.

Clintonville -- Connolly, Kane, Hutton, McVeigh, B Holland (Burns 16); Garrett, Johnston, McMullan, Seydak; O'Connor; M Holland (Donnelly 76).

Ref -- D Tomney (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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