A rip-roaring first half yielded four goals as relegation threatened St Pat’s fought back to win a six-goal thriller against the league champions to ease their fears at a rocking Richmond Park on the banks of the Camac River tonight.
St Pat’s formed a guard of honour and applauded the new league champions on to the pitch before kick-off.
City made eight changes with only Ryan Delaney, Jimmy Keohane and Shane Griffin retaining their places from the 0-0 drawn game with Derry City on a night when goalkeeper Alan Smith and defender Sean McLouglin made their league debuts.
Liam Buckley fielded an unchanged team again and the Supersaints came into the game with just two defeats in their last 10 compared to a Cork side without a win in five outings.
Ryan Delaney fired Cork into a 12th minute lead from Shane Griffin’s corner after Pat’s keeper Lukas Skowron parried a Kieran Sadlier shot out for a corner, and a minute earlier, Sadlier had a screamer zip just over the bar from outside the box.
Alan Smith was called into action in Pat’s next attack and he made a smart save low down to deny wide man Conan Byrne.
The visitors made it 2-0 after 19 minutes when another right-footed Sadlier screamer from all of 30 yards range flew high into the home net.
Mid-way through the half McCarthy lost possession and Christy Fagan’s drive was tipped around the post by Smith and then Jimmy Keohane took Owen Garvan’s effort of the line but at the third time of asking Pat’s scored after 25 minutes.
Conan Byrne’s in-swinging corner from the right was headed home by Dutchman Jordi Balk making it 2-1 and game on.
Just before the break, ex-Cork City man Billy Dennehy made it 2-2 with a neat finish as he lifted Killian Brennan’s pass over the advancing Smith into the far corner of the net.
Mid-way through the second half and it was 3-2 when Ian Bermingham netted after a mistake by Griffin and after Conor McCarthy took Conan Byrne’s shot of the line, the home side added a fourth on 78 minutes with a thumping header by Kurtis Byrne on the end of Dennehy’s cross.
St Pat’s Ath (4-2-3-1) - Skowron; Barker, Balk, Desmond, Bermingham (capt); Garvan, Brennan; C. Byrne, O’Connor, Dennehy; Fagan.
Subs. K. Byrne for O’Connor (23 mins), Turner for C. Byrne (76 mins), Lunney for Garvan (90 mins), Peers, Feely, Markey & Jennings (not used)
Cork City (4-2-3-1) - Smith; McCarthy, Williams, Delaney, McLoughlin; Bolger (capt), Keohane; Sadlier, Campion, Griffin; Ellis.
Subs. Sheppard for Williams (half-time), Dooley for Ellis (61 mins), Morrissey for Campion (76 mins), Bennett, McCormack, O’Mahony & McNulty (not used)
Referee: Robert Hennessy (Limerick)
Official attendance: 1,618.