Cork City were 4-1 victors against Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross on Friday night. A brace from Ryan Delaney and goals from Gearóid Morrissey and Johnny Dunleavy were enough to see the home side secure victory.
The home side, in an all-white stripe due to a clash with Rovers away kit, had one change from the side that started against Sligo Rovers. Morrissey returned to the side in place of Alan Bennett, with Jimmy Keohane moving to right-back and Dunleavy slotting in at centre-back with Delaney. Greg Bolger and Conor McCormack occupied the midfield area with Morrissey.
John Caulfield’s men controlled possession in the opening ten minutes without creating any clear cut opportunities. Delaney showed his prowess in the air that would be on full display later as he headed narrowly over from a Kevin O’Connor corner in the 12th minute.
The opening goal came in the 16th minute, and it went to Shamrock Rovers. A superb driving run from midfield saw Trevor Clarke find himself at the edge of the City penalty area, before smashing a magnificent shot into the top left corner, giving Mark McNulty no chance.
The home side looked to hit back quickly, but Karl Sheppard’s header was straight at the keeper and the flag was up for offside.
Sean Maguire went close in the 23rd minute. Pouncing on a loose pass on the left wing he dribbled into the box and his left footed effort was deflected into the side netting. From the corner Rovers captain Ronan Finn cleared another Delaney effort off the line.
Maguire had a glorious chance to restore parity in the 27th minute. A ball from Keohane into the striker’s feet and a slip from Roberto Lopes saw him clean through on goal, but his shot was inches wide.
The Leesider’s continued the pressure after the half hour, with Delaney heading a free kick wide and Stephen Dooley drawing a fine save from Kevin Horgan with a low drive from the edge of the box. It was one way traffic as the home side sought the equaliser.
The equaliser did come just before half time. Bolger swung a free kick in from the left and Delaney made good on his earlier threats as he powered a header past Horgan in the Rovers goal.
The game changed shape again five minutes after the interval. A reckless challenge on Sean Maguire from David McAllister saw him sent off with a straight red card.
John Caulfield’s men pressed their numerical advantage and in the 53rd Maguire received the ball on the edge of the area before swivelling and shooting just over the bar. Five minutes Delaney had a second effort cleared off the line, this time by Madden.
The visitors did have moments in the attacking third. In the 64th minute Brandon Miele saw his curling free kick easily saved by McNulty. A minute later Miele played an inch perfect through ball to Clarke, who’s inch perfect shot was narrowly over the crossbar.
The second City goal came in the 66th minute. Morrissey picked up the ball in the middle of the park and took a touch before rifling a screamer of a shot into the top left corner from 25 yards.
The home side continued to control possession and they got a third goal in the 82nd minute. Substitute Shane Griffin’s corner found the head of Maguire, who’s header produced a fingertip save from Horgan. The ball rebounded from the keeper’s hands and Delaney met the ball with an acrobatic left footed volley for his second of the game.
The Leesiders added a forth in additional time as Johnny Dunleavy rose highest to head home a Griffin corner.
Next up for City is a trip to Louth to face second placed Dundalk next Friday.
Referee: James McKell.
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