By Denis Hurley
Cork City’s Steven Beattie is looking to channel any disappointment with their European exit into tomorrow night’sPremier Division clash with St Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross.
A 3-0 loss against Rosenborg on Thursday night saw City exit the Europa League, 5-0 on aggregate. Progress in Europe for Irish sides is very much a chicken-and-egg situation – improvement comes from more exposure to better teams, but the likelihood is that those teams will win, meaning a year to wait to put lessons into practice.
“We go again now on Sunday, and as a group we have to regroup. Europe’s gone, it’s a memory, simple as that.
“Could we have done ourselves a bit more proud? Yeah, probably, but at the end of the day, the league is what we want. It’s a good experience for the younger lads to play in stadiums like Rosenborg and Legia but it’s back to business now.”
Having gone in 2-0 down from the first leg, City needed to score first to keep the tie alive, but a pair of first-half goals from the hosts saw them double their overall lead by half-time.
“What we said all week was that we didn’t want to be leaving Norway with ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves’, but that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Beattie says.
“We knew that the first goal was crucial – no matter what way you want to sugar-coat it, if they scored first then the tie is pretty much gone.
“It was very hard to rally everyone in the second half, but John just said about the supporters that had travelled over and that we couldn’t let ourselves down.
“I thought we put in a spirited performance in the second half.” Against Rosenborg and Legia Warsaw in the Champions League first qualifying round, City can pinpoint defensive lapses in the goals conceded, while Beattie also acknowledges the failure to score in any of their four games this year.
“[The first goal on Thursday] is a sloppy goal to give away again, we had said all week that we can’t afford to give away sloppy goals.
“We haven’t scored in Europe in this campaign, we all know ourselves that that’s not good enough.”
After the Legia loss, City responded with domestic wins over Derry City, Bray Wanderers and Waterford, and Beattie is expecting similar this time round.
“That comes from a good attitude from the lads,” he says.
“That’s what it’s all about, there’s a great bunch in there. Everyone can carry their head high and we’ll go again on Sunday.”