HOLDERS Crusaders last night crashed out of the Setanta Cup.
Goals from Daryl Horgan, Daryl Kavanagh and a David Magowan og ended Stephen Baxter’s team’s interest in the tournament – it was only their second defeat in 22 starts at Seaview.
Cork City struck twice in a devastating five minute spell in the second half. And, even though Paul Heatley grabbed a late consolation, by that stage the red and black ribbons were already were being removed from the trophy.
Just to rub salt into the wound, Crues skipper Magowan shot into his own net in injury time – yes it was a night to forget for the Belfast side.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for Stephen Baxter’s troops. They went into the game trailing 1-0, courtesy of Danny Morrissey’s late strike at Turner’s Cross last week.
Even though the Crues bossed a large part of the game, it was Kavanagh’s craft in front of goal that ultimately killed them off – his goal was an absolute screamer.
Crusaders went in search of an early breakthrough with Timmy Adamson making ground on the right, but his cross was just behind the inrushing Declan Caddell.
Adamson again threatened on eight minutes, cutting in from the right to unleash a vicious low drive that looked destined for the bottom corner until goalkeeper Mark McNulty got down to beat away the effort.
Cork burst to life on 18 minutes when Kavanagh charged through the middle and, just when he was about to pull the trigger, Colin Coates produced a wonderful saving tackle.
The visitors almost carved out the opener when Kavanagh sent overlapping defender Ian Turner into the box, whose thunderous drive crashed into the side netting.
Crusaders upped the tempo as the interval approached. Josh Robinson looped a teasing cross to the back post which was fumbled by McNulty, but Owens failed to get a vital touch.
Robinson then tried his luck from 20 yards only to see his left-footed drive flash inches past.
Baxter sent his boys out for the second half with renewed vigour.
Adamson left fly from 20 yards on 53 minutes, but his shot sailed hopelessly wide.
It was all Crusaders. Robinson’s free kick landed on the head of Owens, but again he failed to hit the target.
The home team almost benefitted from a slice of luck when a Garry Buckley clearance fell for Owens, but McNulty was out quickly to block with his legs.
But City struck a killer away goal on 61 minutes. Denis Behan was allowed time and space on the right and his cross was thumped into the bottom corner by the alert Horgan.
City’s second goal five minutes later was even better. Kavanagh cut in from the left to curl a Beckham-style, 30-yarder into the top corner.
That signalled the end of Crusaders’ Setanta Cup reign.
Heatley gave the home fans something to cheer by firing low past McNulty on 89 minutes, but seconds later, the unfortunate Magowan diverted Horgan pass into his own net.
Crusaders: Lacroix, Magowan, Coates, McClean, Morrow, Robinson, Caddell, Snoddy (Rainey 65), Heatley, Adamson (McAllister 71), Owens. Subs: McBride, Wright, McCrea, McMaster.
Cork CitY: McNulty Turner, Murphy, Murray, G Morrissey, Duggan, Kavanagh (D Morressey 71), Behan (Furlong 78), N Horgan, D Horgan (Rundel 71), Buckley. Subs: Kavanagh, Kenny, Burns, Kennedy.
Referee: D Malcolm.