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

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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.