Cork City 3 Shamrock Rovers 0: Another early goal from red-hot Sean Maguire helped Cork City move to within seven points of leaders Dundalk at the top of the SSE Airtricity League premier division with a game in hand after a deserved victory over Shamrock Rovers at Turners Cross last night.
After demolishing Rovers 5-0 in the FAI Cup last week, the home support thought they were in for more of the same last night when Maguire scored early on but Rovers upped their game considerably from last week and it took a late Greg Bolger penalty and a superb Garry Buckley striker to finally make sure of the points.
John Caulfield’s side were full of confidence after banging in 18 goals in their last four matches and the City manager had the luxury of naming the same side that started in Tallaght last week.
After last weeks debacle, Rovers could have done without a trip to Turners Cross and their task was made even harder with Pat Cregg and Sean Boyd suspended, and Gary McCabe missing through illness. Shane Hanney, James Doona and Dean Clarke came into the side in place of the three absentees.
Maguire got the first of his three goals after only 4 minutes last week and the striker was was quick off the mark again last night as he put City in front in the 7th minute.
Rovers management team of Sami Ristila and Stephen Bradley would have warned their side of the importance of not conceding an early goal but a bad error from Sean Heaney when he failed to control Kenny Browne’s long ball forward and then slipped when trying to reach the ball left Maguire steal it. The City striker still had a lot to do however but he burst forward and squeezed a left footed shot in off the post to give his side the ideal start.
Credit to Rovers however as their heads didn’t drop after Maguire’s goal and they regrouped and kept the home side relatively quiet for the remainder of the first half without creating anything of note themselves.
City were nowhere near as effective going forward in the first half as they were last week with Rovers looking a lot more organised and the closest they came to increasing their lead was when Kevin O’Connor flashed a cross-come-shot across goal just before the break.
Browne had to be alive to clear Dean Clarke’s dangerous cross early in the second half before Aaron Dobbs was inches away from connecting with Simon Madden’s cross minutes later as the visitors looked for a way back into the game. Former Rovers player Karl Sheppard thought he had put his side further in front just after the hour mark when he volleyed home Greg Bolger’s free-kick but his effort was ruled out for offside as City pressed for a second goal which would put the game out of Rovers reach.
Sheppard then went close when he shot narrowly over from a tight angle before Trevor Clarke made a good block to deny the same player after some great work from O’Connor down the left flank.
City were attacking with a lot more vigour now but had to wait until two minutes from time to make sure of the points when Stephen Dooley was brought down by Hanney and Bolger dispatched the resulting spot-kick.
Buckley wrapped it up in style in injury time when he rifled a shot home from outside the box to give Murphy no chance.
McNulty; Beattie, Browne, Bennett, O’Connor; Sheppard (D Morrrissey 84), Bolger, G Morrissey, Buckley, Dooley (Ogbene 90); Maguire (O’Sullivan 84).
Murphy; Hanney, Heaney, Cornwall, T Clarke; Madden (Shaw 78), Webster, McPhail, Doona (K Brennan 65), D Clarke; Dobbs.
D McKeon (Dublin).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved