IT was a night of celebration for Cork City’s goal-scoring duo of Garry Buckley and Steven Beattie in windy Estonia.
The two midfield players scored the priceless away goals to give the Leesiders a real foothold in this Europa League, first round qualifier with the return leg to come at Turner’s Cross on Thursday night (7.45pm).
Beattie dedicated his wonder goal to his late grandfather from Skerries while Buckley dedicated his opening goal from a free kick to his grandmother who turned 92 this week.
The goals were significant too in that they were the first ever European goals for both men and it now leaves City in with a great chance of beating Levadia Tallinn in both legs and progressing to play AEK Larnaca of Cyprus in the next round next month.
City have only beaten one team, FC Malmo from Sweden, in both the home and away legs when Dan Murray and Liam Kearney shared the goals in a 4-1 aggregate win with Kearney getting the away winner.
“It’s only half-time in this fixture and even though we are two-nil up I thought we made very hard work of it and we should have kicked on.
"After the red card for them just before the break we should have kicked on but that never happened and in this game we can’t take anything for granted.
"It was a brilliant result for us away from home in Europe and I would have bitten your hand off for it to be honest at the start of the game.
"We might have had two spot kicks as well but in Europe you don’t get some of those decisions but we are delighted with our two-goal advantage and the fact that we kept a clean sheet too,” said Beattie who cracked home a real beauty to kill off the opposition.
"I hope the Cross will be rocking now on Thursday night and we can’t wait to get going again.
"Hopefully we can kick on again and get a few more goals and get ourselves into the next round.
"Football is a funny old game, as they say, but you have to think that it will be very hard for Levadia to get three goals to turn the tie around given our defensive record at home,” he added.
“The first goal on Thursday will be key to it and we have to fancy ourselves to notch one or two more. We won’t take them for granted because even when they were down to ten men in the second half they kept possession well.
All we can do now is play our game at fortress Turner’s Cross and we can beat them again,” he said before we boarded our Slovenian crewed charter flight home from Tallinn.
“I was a personal goal of mine to score in Europe and I’d like to dedicate my goal to my late grandfather who passed away there last year. His name is Derek Neville and he was a Skerries man like myself and he was big into football. It was Mick Neville’s father and Mick played with a great Shamrock Rovers team and that’s the connection. I actually sent a text to my grandmother after the game," said ‘Beatts’.
Garry Buckley did likewise and dedicated his goal to his grandmother Sheila Edwards who turned 92 this week.
“Our first half performance was very good I thought but I was disappointed in the second half that we let them back in the game.
"The sending off had an impact okay but it was a great result for us so far away from home.
"It was a great time for us to get a goal just before the break and Greg (Bolger) set it up for me with that rolled free kick. It went under the wall and beat the keeper into the far corner.
"The return leg next week will not be a formality for us and we know that a 2-0 score line is a tricky one. If they score early, we are n the back foot again and they could gain confidence from it so we will have to be right.
“If we get an early goal then that will kill the game off and that’s the intention. It was a first defeat for Levadia in 18 games and they hadn’t been beaten since October 7 but this one is far from over believe me,” he added.