Cork City’s first outing of 2016 resulted in a penalty shoot-out defeat against Rockmount in the Munster Senior Cup.
City dominated the majority of the game, both in terms of possession and territory, but they were unable to turn that dominance into goals against a well-drilled Rockmount side. John Caulfield’s started quite brightly, as they looked to work their way into the game and they forced a succession of corners in the opening quarter of an hour. Up to that point, it looked as though City were the only team likely to score, but Rockmount grabbed a goal against the run of play on 18 minutes; A free kick on halfway was drilled into the box and John Hayes glanced a clever header past McNulty.
Despite the setback, City continued to control the majority of possession, but Rockmount came close to a second just before the half hour when former City player Jamie Murphy’s clever free kick from wide on the right whistled narrowly over the bar. City’s dominance finally paid off four minutes before the break when Mark O’Sullivan leveled the scores; Steven Beattie saw his well-struck effort rebound off the crossbar and, after a touch by Sean Maguire, O’Sullivan headed to the net and the sides went in at the break tied at one goal apiece.
City started the second half well, with Maguire and Sheppard both taking aim at goal from outside the box in the opening exchanges. Greg Bolger, who was impressive in midfield on he debut, then found Maguire on the run, but the striker could not keep his effort on target. Bolger then came ever closer as he tried his luck himself on the hour mark; a delicate lob from the edge of the box looked to have the keeper beaten, but it hit the crossbar and bounced away to safety.
City continued to press as the half wore on, and they had the lion’s share of the ball, but they just could not find the lead goal and referee Graham Kelly’s whistle signalled extra time. Maguire had the best chance of extra time, as he weaved his way into the box only to drag his shot wide.
City began the penalty shootout well, with Turner firing home but Bolger then saw his effort saved. Rockmount scored four out of four, with Healy and O’Sullivan also netting for City, but Kevin O’Connor failed to find the target from City’s final spot kick and Rockmount progressed 4-3 on penalties.
City: McNulty, Dunleavy, Bennett (Buckley 68), Browne, O’Connor, Healy, Bolger, Beattie (Turner 109), Maguire, O’Sullivan, Sheppard.
Pic: Doug Minihane.