Cork City 1 Shamrock Rovers 0
A first-half Kieran Sadlier penalty saw champions Cork City get back to winning ways in a hard fought encounter with Shamrock Rovers in tonight's SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash in front of another big crowd at Turner's Cross, writes David Ludzik
It wasn't vintage City by any means and Rovers will count themselves unlucky to have gone home empty handed, but the three points is all that matters to John Caulfield's side after their disappointing loss to Dundalk on Friday night as they bid for back-to-back titles for the first time in the club's history.
Stephen Bradley's Hoops do look a better side than last season however, and on this showing and after drawing with Dundalk, they look like they could be more involved in the title race this time around.
Caulfield made two changes to the side that were so ineffective at Oriel Park on Friday, with Steven Beattie and Garry Buckley making way for the highly rated Sean McLoughlin and Barry McNamee.
With Alan Bennett still out, former UCC man McLoughlin came in to partner Aaron Barry in central defence with Conor McCarthy, who played there against Dundalk, slotting into the right back position.
After banging in 12 goals in their last two games, Bradley made two changes to the side that hammered Derry City 6-1 on Friday night, with Trevor Clarke and the injured Ethan Boyle replaced by Luke Byrne and Irish international Joey O'Brien.
Former Rovers man and City captain Conor McCormack shipped a heavy challenge early on when O'Brien caught him late in front of the City bench, with the former West Ham man going into Robert Harvey's book for the tackle.
Graham Burke, who scored four in Friday's romp in Tallaght, looked dangerous from the start in his advanced role behind Dan Carr as the visitors, full of confidence after their recent goal glut, started the better of the two sides.
Burke played a nice pass to Sean Kavanagh midway through the half and Kavanagh's left footed effort from outside the box had Mark McNulty scrambling but the ball flew narrowly wide of the City keeper's right hand post.
Shortly before that, Carr had a good chance following come sloppy defending from the home side when they failed to clear Burke's cross but Barry made a great block to deny the English striker.
Just as they did in Dundalk, City were guilty of not moving the ball quickly enough in the first half hour, with Graham Cummins again starved of any service up front.
Sadlier and McNamee were slowly beginning to get more involved and the pair seemed to spark a bit of life into their side as the Rovers defence began to come under a bit of pressure at last.
Nine minutes before the break, McNamee swung over a left footed cross and Cummins was unlucky to see his glancing header come back off the post but the striker reacted quickly as he pounced on the rebound and the out-rushing 'keeper Kevin Horgan brought him down for a blatant penalty.
Sadlier stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to give the home side the lead going in for the break, which was harsh on Rovers, who had put a lot of effort into the first half.
Rovers lost centre back Ally Gilchrist through injury a minute after the break and McNamee couldn't direct his effort on goal shortly afterwards following some great play by Sheppard as the home side started on the front foot.
City were guilty of almost gifting Rovers an equaliser when Barry put McCormack under pressure with a careless pass out of defence but McNulty was quick off his line to snuff out the danger from Carr as Bradley's side still looked dangerous going forward.
City were a lot better in the second half however, and with McLoughlin looking very accomplished next to Barry, Rovers couldn't find a way through the well-organised home defence.
Bradley's men almost plundered an equaliser near the end though when Luke Byrne's header from Burke's corner kick came back off the crossbar but City held out to make it two wins from two home matches so far this season.
🎥 Superb support here once again. See you all here again next Monday afternoon, as we face Bohemians! Tickets on sale now! #CCFC84 pic.twitter.com/7uAH70YvY8— Cork City FC (@CorkCityFC) March 12, 2018
CORK CITY: McNulty, McCarthy, McLoughlin, Barry, Griffin, Morrissey, McCormack; Sheppard, McNamee (Buckley 77), Sadlier (Keohane 84), Cummins.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Horgan, O'Brien (Coustrain 70), Grace, Gilchrist (Lopes 46), Byrne, Miele (Clarke 67), Finn, Bone, Kavanagh, Burke; Carr.
Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin).
Derry City 5 Limerick 0
Derry City celebrated their return to a new-look £7m Brandywell Stadium with an impressive victory over Limerick tonight, writes Arthur Duffy.
With Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, cutting the ribbon to officially open the impressive Mark Farren Stand, the 'Candystripes' certainly played their part on the pitch with an impressive performance in front of an estimated attendance of 2,500.
Meanwhile on the pitch, Derry's Ronan Hale, on loan from Birmingham City, impressed when netted a magnificent hat-trick to end the night on a high and, indeed, put Friday's disastrous defeat at Tallaght to the back of the mind.
Right winger Hale, brought the attendance to its feet with the opening goal, a superb shot into the top corner after just eight minutes.
And that early strike set the tone for the evening as confidence levels grew on Foyleside.
However, Limerick were always dangerous on the break and when Billy Dennehy drove a shot against the upright seven minutes later, it was clear that the Shannonsiders were not going to be intimidated by the vociferous attendance.
But it was the home lot who rose to the challenge after the break, tearing their visitors apart with great speed when on the counter-attack.
A superb turn by Rory Patterson in the 61st minute, sent Ronan Curtis racing into the area and he gleefully drove the ball low into the corner giving Clarke no chance to double Derry's lead.
And Derry ended the game as a contest three minutes later when Aaron McEneff chipped the ball home after Nicky Low's deft chip had crashed off the crossbar.
With their tails up Derry upped the tempo with Hale netting his club's fourth goal in the 69th minute before he was brought crashing down to earth in the 72nd minute when inside the danger area.
The Belfast man stepped up and confidently stroked the penalty home top his performance with a memorable hat-trick.
Derry City - Doherty; McDermott, Cole, Toal, Doyle (Whiteside, 87); Ronan Hale (Ben Doherty), Low, Rory Hale, Curtis; McEneff (Delap, 82); Patterson.#
Limerick - Clarke; Kelly, Whitehead, D. Dennehy, Tracy; B. Dennehy, Duggan (Cantwell, 75), Wearen (Fitzgerald, 15), Kearns; Coleman; Morrissey (Ellis, 59).
Referee - B. Connollly (Dublin).
Waterford FC 1 Bohemians 0
Sander Puri scored his first goal for Waterford FC as they continued their impressive start to their return to the SSE Airtricity Premier Division when they got the better of Bohemians in their clash played in front of a 2284 crowd at the RSC tonight, writes Adrian Flanagan.
The sides exchanged early chances from Bohs’ Keith Ward and Waterford’s Courtney Duffus but neither could find the opposition net.
Rob Manley had a great chance midway through the first half for Bohemians but he mishit after good work from Darragh Leahy and Karl Moore down the left side.
Waterford had a chance of their own minutes later; a great cross from Stanley Aborah from the right found Gavan Holohan in front of goal but he could only fire straight at Bohs keeper Shane Supple.
Bohs were looking to make their possession count as Manley got through from the left but a last-gasp challenge from David Webster cleared the danger.
Waterford started the second half brightly and were in front after six second-half minutes. Courtney Duffus did well down the right and his curling cross found Sander Puri at the back post to fire home.
Gavan Holohan turned provider for Duffus soon afterwards but his shot was well held by Shane Supple before Puri laid the ball into the path of Holohan however he was denied by another smart save from the visiting netminder.
Bohs created a chance to level with twelve minutes left; Kenny Browne mishit his attempted clearance at the front post and it dropped to Eoghan Stokes but he couldn’t head past Vigouroux.
The men from Dalymount Park went agonisingly close to levelling the tie on 83 minutes when Keith Ward played a short corner kick to Dylan Watts but his tremendous volley whistled inches off target with Vigouroux struggling.
Waterford FC: Lawrence Vigouroux; Rory Feely (John Kavanagh 28), Dave Webster, Kenny Browne, Dylan Barnett; Paul Keegan, Stanley Aborah, Bastien Héry (Sander Puri 46), Gavan Holohan; Derek Daly (Dean O’Halloran 79), Courtney Duffus
Bohemian FC: Shane Supple: Derek Pender, Dan Casey, Robert Cornwall, Darragh Leahy; Karl Moore, Keith Ward, Paddy Kavanagh (Eoghan Stokes 75), Oscar Brennan (Ian Morris 71), Dylan Watts; Rob Manley (Dinny Corcoran 59)
Referee: Graham Kelly