Report by Graham Cummins for EchoLive.ie
Cork City’s seven league game unbeaten run ended after they lost to league-leaders Shelbourne in the First Division at Turner's Cross.
A brace from Ryan Brennan was enough to give the Dubliners a deserved victory.
Although City troubled Shels towards the latter stages of the contest, they can have little complaint about the outcome.
Colin Healy, who already had an injury-hit squad, was forced to make two changes to his starting 11 from City’s last outing with Dale Holland and Alec Byrne replacing Cian Coleman and Gordon Walker – both of whom missed the game through suspension.
With the lack of height in the City side, Shelbourne did not hide the fact that they were going to try and exploit this weakness in Healy’s side. Ian Morris’ side were using every set-piece to get the ball into City’s box and Michael O’Connor went close to steering George Poyton’s corner into the City net.
Moments later, Shels almost went ahead but Mark McNulty was able to divert Shane Farrell’s effort superbly around the post.
The league leaders were in front in the 15th minute. A long diagonal ball was headed back across goal by Farrell and Brennan was left with the simplest of finishes.
The game was brought to a brief halt after the goal, with the Shels supporters throwing flares onto the pitch as part of their celebrations.
Shels were dominating the contest. O’Connor and Farrell both tried the luck on the City goal, but neither effort troubled McNulty.
In the 31st minute, there was a fitting tribute to the late John Kennedy, with spectators simultaneously applauding to commemorate the 31 years of volunteer service John provided to City.
Although Shels were in control of proceedings, City’s make-shift defence was keeping the league leaders at bay.
At the other end, City struggled to test Brendan Clarke in the Shelbourne goal with Cian Murphy and Jack Walsh struggling to make an impact on the game with the little service they got.
City’s best route to goal came from Cian Bargary’s throw-ins, but even then, they were having little joy.
It was a difficult first half for City. Shels showed their experience throughout and dealt with City threats easily. Morris’ men showed why they are champions-elect with their excellent game management.
Murphy caused the Shels defence problems in the opening stages of the second-half but was not able to execute the final pass in the crucial moment.
Brennan got his and Shels second of the night seven minutes into the half from the penalty spot. Shels were awarded the penalty after the City defence struggled to deal with a long direct ball from the Dubliners, and Darragh Crowley brought down O’ Connor, giving referee Gavin Coffey little choice but to point to the spot despite the protests from the City players.
City almost got back into the game through Barry Coffey. Bargary’s cross found the head of Walsh, whose effort appeared to be going wide before Coffey was unable to get his stretching foot to steer the ball on target.
City registered their first effort on target on the 70th minute, when Bargary worked his way into the Shels box before striking on goal but Clarke dealt with his effort.
Healy’s men did threaten in the second half but Shels comfortably saw out the game.
Referee: Gavin Colfer.[event_performance 110774]