Alex Dunne reports from Richmond Park
St Patrick's Athletic suffered a 3-1 loss to champions Cork City in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Friday night.
A penalty 13 seconds in was converted by Keiran Sadlier to give Cork the lead but Pat's dominated the play and grabbed an equaliser through Conan Byrne.
But Jimmy Keohane's fantastic strike with fifteen minutes to go to make it 2-1 whilst Sadlier struck with virtually the last kick of the game to make it 3-1 on a night.
Pat's began with three changes from the game against Shamrock Rovers, the 3-0 reverse a clear show that a refresh was needed. Michael Leahy, James Doona, and Graham Kelly came in for Darragh Markey, Jamie Lennon, and Dean Clarke.
But the revamp was all for nought in the opening stages when, after just 13 seconds, Sadlier was nudged over in the box. It looked soft but referee Neil Doyle pointed to the spot without hesitation and Sadlier slotted home into the bottom right corner to give City a 70 second lead.
The Saints were shellshocked, and it showed early on as their typical building from the back was marred with mistakes, particularly from Tyson Farago and Michael Leahy, as they struggled to settle into the game.
But their first chance came two minutes later, when a lovely run from Conan Byrne teed up James Doona.
Cork fell deep. Indeed, far deeper than even Pat's may have expected, with ten inside their own defensive third a common sight in the first half.
They kept the Inchicore club at bay, but only just, as Pat's began to find a flow. Conan Byrne's shot in the 12th minute drew McNulty's first save, Ryan Brennan flashed wide from the box's edge, and Simon Madden also stung McNulty's gloves.
Brennan later had two efforts blocked consecutively as the pressure mounted on City, who did little of note other than camp on the edge of their own box and make a first half change, Barry McNamee replacing the stricken Garry Buckley.
They had a handball shout when Ian Bermingham deflected Karl Sheppard's header wide, but it was of little interest to Doyle. It was one-way traffic for Pat's by the half's end, and it would pay off in the second half's opening exchanges.
Up to this point, James Doona had largely been moving inside to little effect, but by beating Horgan around the outside in the 51st minute, he finally picked the lock of the Cork defence.
His low drive was stopped by the combined efforts of Sean McLoughlin and Mark McNulty, but a lapse in concentration on the rebound allowed Conan Byrne in to lash home the equaliser unmarked.
The left-wing almost proved dividends once more for the Saints as another Doona run and delivery teed up a Bermingham no-look effort from 12 yards that whacked off the crossbar, much to the captain's dismay.
But as the home side pushed, the breakaway threat with Cummins always lurked, and after getting off lightly once before already, they wouldn't when a second chance arrived after the physical forward beat Leahy to a long clearance.
The Cork cavalry flooded forward, and the ball broke to Keohane on the box's edge, from which the defensive midfielder curled a beauty into the far-right corner that Farago had no chance of stopping – much to the heavy protest of the home fans and players as Doyle turned a blind eye to an apparent foul on Ryan Brennan in the build-up.
Cork shut down the game from there, and while Killian Brennan and Christy Fagan both had chances in the final ten minutes, it did little to trouble the green wall in front of them.
The final nail in the coffin came with almost the final kick of the game when Sadlier hooked a clearance away which flew all the way into the Pat's net as the champions left Richmond Park with the three points.
ST, PATRICK'S ATHELTIC: Tyson Farago; Simon Madden, Michael Leahy, Kevin Toner, Ian Bermingham; Ryan Brennan (Killian Brennan 85), Lee Desmond, Graham Kelly (Darragh Markey 72); Conan Byrne (Christy Fagan 78), Thomas Byrne, James Doona.
Subs Not Used: Brian Maher, Michael Barker, Jamie Lennon, Killian Brennan, Darragh Markey, Jake Keegan, Christy Fagan.
Booked: T Byrne (55), Toner (74)
CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan, Sean McLoughlin, Alan Bennett, Shane Griffin; Jimmy Keohane, Conor McCormack, Garry Buckley (Barry McNamee 36); Karl Sheppard (Steven Beattie 78), Graham Cummins (Josh O'Hanlon 72), Kieran Sadlier.
Subs Not Used: Peter Cherrie, Aaron Barry, Danny Kane, Conor McCarthy, Steven Beattie, Josh O'Hanlon.
Booked: McCormack (65)
Referee: Neil Doyle
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Jimmy Keohane (Cork City)