Cork City's hopes of progressing to the UEFA Cup proper moved a step closer as they scored a deserved 2-0 preliminary round victory over FK Ekranas Panavezys in Lithuania this afternoon.

The early signs did not look good when 41-year-old goalkeeping coach Phil Harrington had to replace the injured Michael Devine between the posts after 13 minutes.

However, the visitors took the game to their opponents and their positive approach paid dividends with two precious away goals from Roy O'Donovan and George O'Callaghan in either half.

City manager Damien Richardson always stressed that this would be a stern test of City's credentials and their cause was further weakened with striker Neale Fenn ruled out because his partner is expecting a baby.


However, the visitors stuck to their task and, despite losing Devine to a suspected broken collar bone, were always in control and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 25 minutes.

O'Callaghan and Liam Kearney combined superbly to set up O'Donovan, who struck a powerful shot from the right hand side of the penalty area to the roof of the Ekranis net.

That gave City a deserved 1-0 half-time lead, and despite the hosts' best efforts they failed to find an equaliser after the break. And there was further cause for celebration amongst the vocal 150 or so travelling fans when O'Callaghan struck for a second a minute from time.

Kearney was again involved, his ball finding the lively O'Callaghan 15 yards out and the 25-year-old made no mistake with his rifled effort rebounding off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

The two away goals mean City have to avoid anything more than a 1-0 defeat at Turner's Cross in two weeks' time if they are to advance to the first round proper of the UEFA Cup.