By Henry O’Donovan.
Cork City bounced back from defeat with a 1-0 victory against Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross on Monday night. A first half penalty from Kieran Sadlier proved the difference between the sides.
The first ten minutes was a lively affair, with hard tackles flying in from both sides. Rovers were the first team to settle, getting into a passing rhythm around the quarter hour mark. They attacked well, but the Leesiders’ defence was equal to the task of defending.
The first chance for John Caulfield’s men came in the 22nd minute. Karl Sheppard slipped a ball through the Rovers defence and Graham Cummins was inches away from latching on to the pass, but Kevin Horgan was alert to the danger and came quickly off his line to clear.
Rover’s came close to opening the scoring two minutes later, as Sean Kavanagh’s shot from just outside the box went narrowly wide.
The effort seemed like a wake up call for City, whose attacking play improved greatly after the Rovers miss. On the half hour mark Sadlier went on a mazy dribble down the left but his cross was just too high for the waiting City players.
The defining incident of the match came in the 36th minute. Good play on the left hand side from Barry McNamee saw him deliver a cross to the head of Graham Cummins. The striker, going backwards, got a glancing header on the ball that had Horgan beaten but it bounced back off the post. Cummins was the most alert and latched on to the loose ball, only to be brought down by the onrushing Horgan for a penalty. Following a brief delay to allow the keeper to receive treatment, Sadlier stepped up and sent the netminder the wrong way to give City the lead.
Sheppard almost added a second before half-time, providing a near post flick for McNamee’s low cross, but Horgan got down quickly to save.
John Caulfield’s men came close to a second again six minutes after the interval. Good wing play from Sheppard saw him cross to McNamee, who miscued his volley as the ball came past him.
The best chance of the second half came two minutes before the hour mark. Sadlier did well to get free down the left and cross to find Cummins, who attempted to steer the ball into the net, only for it to go a whisker wide.
The Leesiders continued to push on. In the 63rd minute McNamee volleyed over after a mistake at the back allowed Cummins to play him in. In the 70th minute the ball fell to Gearoid Morrissey on the edge of the penalty area, but his left footed shot was inches over the bar.
Rovers did get one chance at an equaliser, coming in the 83rd minute. They swung a corner in on top of Mark McNulty and in the ensuing melee Luke Byrne got a header on it only to hit the bar, at which point City scrambled the ball clear.
Referee: Robert Harvey.