IT'S never easy when being knocked out on penalties.
On Friday night at the Cross, I genuinely felt gutted for Colin Healy’s Cork City, who gave it everything for over 120 minutes but in the end, it just wasn’t enough as they bowed out of the FAI Cup to Premier side St Pat's.
An injury-time equaliser from Barry Coffey set wild scenes of celebration especially in the Shed end and deservedly so as the goal was exactly what the players and supporters deserved. However, heartache followed in the shootout.
City were the better side and it would have been gut-wrenching to lose in normal time, especially when they conceded so late on in the game through a penalty when George Heaven fouled for Chris Forester to slot home.
At that stage, while everyone was so deflated, credit to the players who never gave up. They finished the game exactly how they had started and that was with huge desire, passion and resilience.
Extra time was a bit flat, with both sides a little cautious.
While Dylan McGlade netted his penalty, misses from Barry Coffey and Darragh Crowley undid the hosts. A disappointing end to a great night's entertainment.
While a disappointing result I have no doubt Healy will take a lot of positives. City certainly didn’t look out of place against a Premier Division outfit, and although Pat's were without some key players, it still didn’t take away from how good City were.
While not creating a lot in the final third, they kept the ball well and were barely troubled by Stephen O’Donnell’s men.
Gordon Walker and Cian Coleman were solid in the backline while Dylan McGlade and Cian Murphy were a threat going forward early on.
Barry Coffey enjoyed a lot of possession however I thought his distribution could have been a bit better at times. Beinéon O’Brien Whitmarsh had one of his quieter games however I still was surprised to see him substituted so early, just on the hour mark.
In saying that his replacement Seán Kennedy did well. He got stuck in straight away and what I like about him is that he isn’t predictable. He mixes his play up, which I like as it keeps defenders on their toes.
Mark McNulty also did well. While he didn’t have a whole lot to do, when called into action he made some vital saves, the first to stop Jason McLelland's shot just before half time and the second to deny the impressive Ben McCormack.
Alec Byrne and Coffey had their hands full in the middle of the park against St Pat's three midfielders and while they didn’t have a chance to create a lot, their work-rate and ability to break down play was excellent coupled with the support from their defence.
I have no doubt the loss will hurt the lads, but I hope they can regroup quickly and bring the same performance as they return to league action this Friday at home to Athlone.