Impressive Cork brush Shamrock Rovers aside to go top of the table
John Caulfield’s men display their title credentials with an emphatic victory
Cork City’s Billy Dennehy opens the scoring in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Cork City 3 Shamrock Rovers 0
An excellent all-round performance from Cork City against Shamrock Rovers
at Turner’s Cross lifted them to the top of the Premier Division.
What will please City manager John Caulfield the most is that this was a game which they ran almost from start to finish, with Rovers goalkeeper Barry Murphy far busier than his counterpart Mark McNulty.
The midfield trio of Garry Buckley, Colin Healy and Gearóid Morrissey were the hub from which the hosts’ creativity was derived, with Billy Dennehy always dangerous on the right and Mark O’Sullivan tireless up front.
In addition, Dan Murray marshalled a solid defence which denied Rovers precious few clear-cut chances.
Cork began brightly and their reward arrived after just 14 minutes. Liam Kearney played a ball behind the defence for Mark O’Sullivan to run on to and the latter’s cross was met by Buckley. Although Murphy saved from him, Billy Dennehy was on hand to turn the ball into the net.
Buoyed by that early goal, Cork continued to impress and Buckley went close from a Dennehy cross, only to be denied by Conor Kenna’s sliding block, while O’Sullivan bundled in a Dennehy corner only for a free to be awarded to Rovers.
After 29 minutes Kearney drew a wonderful save from Murphy after O’Sullivan and Buckley had combined.
Shortly after that, it took a good Kenna recovery to prevent O’Sullivan getting a shot in and before half-time Dennehy and Buckley were both foiled by Murphy saves.
In a similar situation at the interval against St Pat’s, Cork had allowed their visitors to gain a foothold early in the second half, but here they pressed home their advantage.
While Rovers’ Gary McCabe had tested McNulty with a free kick, in the 53rd minute, Billy Dennehy turned provider on the right by crossing to the back post where the unmarked O’Sullivan headed home.
Still Cork maintained the whip hand and Healy fizzed a free kick over the bar while Buckley drew yet another save from Murphy after he had dispossessed Jason McGuinness.
On 64 minutes Cork wrapped up the points. A Healy corner was only cleared back to him and his cross found Darren Dennehy who finished at the back post. Top of the league, and more than deserving of it.
CORK CITY: McNulty; Lenihan, Murray, D Dennehy, Dunleavy; B Dennehy (Kavanagh 83), Morrissey, Healy (O’Leary 74), Buckley, Kearney; O’Sullivan (Lehane 89).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Murphy; Madden, Kenna, McGuinness, Byrne; McCabe (Zayed 79), Brennan (McPhail 67), Robinson, O’Connor (Waters 57); Finn, Kilduff. Attendance: 5,676
Referee: R Rogers (Dublin)