Battling Linfield bow out of Europe despite draw against Cork City

Linfields Kirk Millar and Corks Stephen Dooley
Linfields Kirk Millar and Corks Stephen Dooley

Linfield went down fighting as they bowed out of the Europa League on Thursday night.

David Healy’s men battled to a 1-1 draw against Cork City at Turner’s Cross, losing 2-1 on aggregate.

The Blues were always facing up uphill struggle following last week’s 1-0 first leg defeat at Windsor Park.

Their plight deepened when Sean Maguire converted a 48th-minute penalty to make it 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate.

It came after Maguire has been fouled by Matthew Clarke inside the box.

Mark Stafford headed home four minutes later to offer Linfield some hope, but despite a rousing display they were unable to claim a vital second goal.

Roy Carroll also impressed on the night as he kept Linfield in the game with a series of fine saves.

Cork pressed for a second goal but the Leesiders were continually denied by Northern Ireland keeper Carroll.

Linfield continued to press as they searched for a goal that would see them go through on away goals .

Jamie Mulgrew rifled over late on as Cork held on to make the second qualifying round.