Cork City 0 Preston 2
CORK City warmed up for Thursday night’s crucial Europa League clash against Progrès Niederkorn with a 2-0 defeat to Preston North End in their Cork Airport friendly fixture at Turner’s Cross last night.
Goals from Jayden Stockley and Josh Ginnelly saw Preston claim victory against John Cotter’s much changed and youthful City side.
Despite the hype surrounding Sean Maguire’s return to the Cross to face his former employers, the Republic of Ireland international wasn’t even named in the squad as he had only returned to pre-season training in the last few days.
The 1,470 fans in attendance did have the chance to welcome back Alan Browne and Adam O’Reilly, both players beginning their careers with Ringmahon Rangers. However, it was a former Shamrock Rovers striker that almost opened the scoring.
Tom Barkhuizen’s free-kick deflected kindly into the path of Graham Burke but the striker’s fierce drive was well stopped by Tadgh Ryan at his near post. The 25-year-old frontman scored a thunderous free at this ground last year when Preston ran out 5-0 winners against Cobh Ramblers but couldn’t repeat the trick here as he fired two set-pieces low at the City defence.
The home side’s first real chance of the game came on 25 minutes but Dáire O’Connor’s ambitious effort from long range was easily saved by North End shot stopper Declan Rudd.
The Championship side introduced Cork native Adam O’Reilly shortly after that let-off and he almost broke the deadlock before half-time but his shot whistled narrowly wide of the bottom right corner.
They wouldn’t be denied for too much longer though as Jayden Stockley gave them the lead on 38 minutes when he drilled a brilliant effort into the far bottom right corner of the net.
Billy Bodin also scored in that aforementioned win against Ramblers last summer and he was unlucky not to score again here at the beginning of the second half. His shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the left post before the alert Louis Moult’s rebound was well saved by Tadgh Ryan.
Moult stuck the crossbar with a brilliant strike just past the hour and City needed Tadgh Ryan to make a string of excellent saves to deny Billy Bodin, Josh Ginnelly, and Alan Browne.
Ginnelly made it 2-0 in the 85th minute when he expertly curled the ball just inside the far right post.
CORK CITY: Tadgh Ryan, Alan Bennett, Enda O’Neill, Darragh Rainsford, Dáire O’Connor, Ricardo Dinanga, Alec Byrne, Gary Boylan, Josh Honohan, John Kavanagh, Darragh Crowley.
Subs: Adam Cantwell, Beineón Whitmarsh-O’Brien, Jake O’Brien, Dale Holland, Conor Bowdren, Tomás Collins and Joe Meaney.
PRESTON NORTH END: Declan Rudd, Josh Earl, Ben Pearson, Tom Clarke, Ben Davies, Josh Harrop, Daniel Johnson, Graham Burke, Jayden Stockley, Patrick Bauer, Tom Barkhuizen.
SECOND 11: Connor Ripley, Alan Browne, Louis Moult, Paul Gallagher, Jordan Storey, Joe Rafferty, Andrew Hughes, Josh Ginnelly, Ryan Ledson, Paul Huntington, Billy Bodin.
Subs: Adam O’Reilly for Josh Harrop (25).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.