Monday 30th April 2007, 10:00 pm
30th April 2007
Aidan O'Kane 85
Cork City 0
Live on Setanta Ireland
Linfield are into a home Setanta Sports Cup final against Drogheda United after they hit Cork City with a late sucker punch in tonight's second semi-final at Windsor Park. Aidan O'Kane's goal five minutes from the end was the only goal as the Belfast side won 1-0.
Cork City had created the better chances in the game but a defensive slip cost them as they ultimately ran out of striking options.
Paul McAreavey hit a tame early effort for the home side but in a poor first half, Cork should have scored at least once. Admir Softic turned a shot narrowly over the bar after a dangerous Joe Gamble run.
Gamble had a typically storming performance in midfield for the visitors but missed the target after making some space for himself midway through the first period. The miss of the game came on 23 minutes when John O'Flynn ran in on Dan Murray's excellent curling through ball.
O'Flynn curled the ball wide from a glorious position and should at least have hit the target. Missed opportunities were the theme of the night for Cork and Liam Kearney went no-where near the target with a free kick from a good position.
Jim Ervin edged out Denis Behan in the closing ten minutes of the first half as the Cork striker almost got in on the end of Gamble's cross. It was another terribly wasted chance for the visitors and perhaps highlighted how crucial the loss of the suspended Roy O'Donovan was.
Behan forced a good tip over from Alan Mannus with a dipping shot from thirty or so yards. Both sides then lost players to injury. William Murphy went off for the home side while O'Flynn lasted just six minutes of the second period leaving Cork with just one recognized striker.
Billy Woods had been brought on and his stunning flick almost caught out Linfield in the box although Ervin and Mannus did manage to clean up at the back post.
Mannus was again under pressure when Behan flicked a header from Woods' cross just after the hour.
Colin O'Brien's shot clipped the bar and went over as he broke in on goal after Mannus had flapped at Neal Horgan's cross into the area.
There was still little sign of Linfield creating anything but Cork were really struggling to put the home side away. Mannus pulled off a great save as Cork again wasted an opportunity. This time Behan saw his shot saved after getting in behind the Linfield back line after Steven Douglas tried to head away.
Mark Dickson almost stole in for the Blues on 77 minutes as he chased McAreavey's quickly taken free kick. Devine was quick off his line to avert the danger though.
The only goal of the game arrived on 85 minutes. After Devine had flapped a hand at Jamie Mulgrew's cross, Gamble got caught in possession at the back post as he attempted to clear. O'Kane took possession and blasted the ball through the crowded six yard box to effectively fire Linfield into the final.
Cork offered little in what remained and looked shell shocked by Linfield's late breakthrough.
Linfield host Drogheda United at Windsor Park on Saturday, 12th May in what is a battle of the two previous winners of the competition.
Linfield : Mannus, Ervin, McShane, Murphy (Douglas 51), Bailie, O'Kane, McAreavey, Mulgrew, Dickson, Stewart (Gault 46), Ferguson.
Cork City : Devine, Horgan (Murphy 88), Ryan, Murray, O'Callaghan, Gamble, Softic, O'Brien, Kearney, Behan, O'Flynn (Woods 51).