By Malachy Clerkin
Longford Town 2, Cork City 1
DUBLIN — Longford Town’s remarkable season continues. The perennial underdogs progressed to the next round of the FAI Cup on Sunday after beating Cork City at Turner’s Cross, their home turf. Goals from Stuart and Niall Byrne set up what beforehand had seemed like a most unlikely victory.
Last week’s drawn match in Longford had been a dour affair, with little to quicken the pulse. This was a more compelling encounter, however, and as expected, Cork had the better of the early exchanges.
They had a number of excellent chances to take the lead in the first half, but managed to put only one of them away. That came on 35 minutes, when Ollie Cahill’s cross reached Derek Coughlan, whose shot was weak but well placed.
Longford came out for the second half a rejuvenated force. Shay Zellor came within an ace of equalizing straight after the restart, but his shot whistled narrowly wide. On 50 minutes, however, the slender margin was wiped out by Stuart Byrne’s excellent volley after a poor free kick from Wes Byrne ricocheted off the Cork wall.
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Zellor was the main orchestrator from then on, constantly being allowed too much time and space on the ball. Indeed it was he who set up the winner, threading the ball through a static home defense to put Niall Byrne in the clear. The youngster had his first effort smothered by an advancing Michael Devine in the Cork goal, but made no mistake with the rebound.