For 88 minutes they did all the hard work, but in the end Crusaders came away with nothing as Danny Morrissey struck late to give Cork City a narrow victory in a dull Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final, first leg clash at Turner’s Cross on Tuesday night.
Substitute Morrissey, the smallest player on the pitch, headed home an Adam Rundle cross from the left after a short corner from Danny Murphy with two minutes to go to give the Leesiders a small advantage ahead of next Monday’s renewal at Seaview.
They may have been missing six players through suspension and failed to fill their allocation of substitutes, but the reigning champions will still fancy their chances to progress to the semi-finals with those absenteess returning to the fold next week.
Still, Stephen Baxter’s side could easily have nicked a narrow win after creating several decent chances over the 90 minutes in front of just over 1,000 bitterly cold but in the end jubilant home supporters.
The winning goal arrived one minute from time as Morrissey climbed highest at the back post to nod home and give the Airtricity League side a slight advantage at the midway point.
Cork City: McNulty; N Horgan, K Murray, D Murray, Murphy; Turner (Rundle 80), G Morrissey, Healy (D Morrissey 79), Duggan, D Horgan; Kavanagh (Behan 69).
Crusaders: Lacroix; McKeown (McAllister 59), Leeman, Magowan, McClean; McMaster, Gibson, Robinson, Heatley; Snoddy, Owens.
Referee: A Kelly (Cork).