Great Escape, Russian Roulette, and going down in Sofia. – A week in Irish football

Cork City fans show their support.

It has been a rollercoaster week in Irish football, a week of spectacular highs and incredible lows. But yesterday Cork City FC lived up to their nickname of the ‘rebels’ by winning their battle against the Revenue Commission to avoid a winding up order, which would have relegated the club from the League of Ireland after a 25 year exsistance.
The final whistle had well and truely blown, but in extra-time the club managed to come up with the required amount of €220,000, half of the €439,658 that they owed to the Revenue Commission. The remaining €219,000 will be made before 4.30pm on Wednesday, therefore saving the club from extinction. Thus, Cork have now avoided becoming the first team to exit the league in mid-season since Dublin City in 2006.
If yesterday’s courtroom battle wasn’t enough, their was football to be played last night, at Turner’s Cross which saw Cork grab their second victory in the space of 5 hours, beating Bray Wanderers 1-0 in front of just over 3,000 loyal supporters.
Cork might not be out of the woods just yet as the staff and players who agreed to a deferral of their wages for a week have to be paid in full by Wednesday.
PFAI chief Stephen McGuinness warned trouble is still brewing – ‘If they aren’t paid on Wednesday that will be a breach of the wage deferral they agreed this week,” he said, “There’s people ‘high-fiving’ on the stairs there but it’s early yet.”

All will become clear in the coming days, but for now it looks like the Leesiders have peformed the greatest escape since Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen.

At the opposite end of the spectrum St. Patrick’s Athletic, enjoyed victory in their Europa League third qualifying round game against Russian heavyweights Krylya Sovetov with Declan ‘Fabio’ O’Brien scoring the one and only goal of the game. O’Brien made it three goals in three European games becoming the first League of Ireland player to score in three consecqutive European ties.

Speaking after the game O’Brien said – ‘It’s a fabulous result for Irish soccer at a time when it’s all been doom and gloom’

Pat’s have already earned €90,000 by reaching this stage, which will stablise the club, and if the hold on in Russia it will see them reach the play-off round and guarantee them two more European nights, along with a further windfall.

Elsewhere, in Bulgaria, Derry City battled bravely but went down 1-0 to CSKA Sofia leaving them with an uphill battle in the return leg at the Brandywell. The Candystripes European faith is in their own hands, but they are certainly the ones with the more difficult task facing them on Thursday night. If they like St. Pat’s weather the storm they will also reach the play-off round, and a guranteed cash bonus.

As all three clubs prepare to ride the emotional rollercoaster for another week, it will be survival of the fittest, but one thing is for sure, no club will be going down without a fight. Passion and belief will be key.


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