Sean Maguire continues scoring to maintain Cork’s winning ways
Rovers’ poor start to the season continues with Patrick's Day defeat at home to Cork
A view of the scoreboard at full-time. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho
Stephen Bradley had spoken on Thursday about how, when teams stop Sean Maguire, they stop Cork City. The Shamrock Rovers manager and his players got an abject lesson in just what happens when they don’t with the striker finding the net in each half to maintain Cork’s 100 per cent record, his own remarkable run of scoring and Rovers’ disappointing start to the season.
The Dubliners have now lost three of five and though they had the better of things in this one for long stretches they never gave Mark McNulty much to do. Maguire, meanwhile, looked like a threat from beginning to end of what was a decidedly scrappy contest and Danny Devine never looked on top of the task of keeping the striker in check.
Ultimately, though, it was his defensive partner, Dave Webster, who conceded the penalty three minutes from time that allowed the 22-year-old to bag his side the extra two points. The locals claimed he had dived but Bradley said afterwards that whether he had or not, his defender had been “naive” to attempt the challenge.
“It’s a clear penalty all day long,” insisted Maguire, however. “I don’t know why they’re complaining. The ball got headed on by Connor Ellis and I’ve taken a touch with my head and another touch with my left foot and he’s put his right foot out and he’s touched me, he’s fouled me and I went down, like anyone would in the penalty box.
“Overall, I’m not happy with my performance or the team’s performance, though. This time last year we were battering teams and getting draws. This year, we are a different breed of animal; we are grafting out games and getting three points. We need a big improvement for Dundalk next week, though. We can’t play like that and expect to get three points, we have to be a lot better.
“We should have built on it (the early goal) but we didn’t and they got the penalty, they got on the front foot and we didn’t really get into the game at all. But we’ve got away from Tallaght with three points without playing well, so we’ll take that going into Dundalk next week.”
The first two goals had amounted to a mutual exchange of gifts with Maguire giving City the lead seven just minutes in after Tomer Chencinski dived wide of his post to keep a Devine header in but then took his hand off the ball as he lay on the ground, allowing the striker nip in and nick possession for a handy tap-in.
In a game packed with errors, Conor McCormack then made another standout one as half-time approached with the right back needlessly using his hand to cut out a Darren Meenan cross as Gary Shaw appeared to be shaping up for an overhead kick. Graham Burke tucked the resulting penalty neatly enough into the bottom right corner and during a strong spell that yielded little enough else by way of scoring chances, the midfielder went close to putting the home side in front not long before the penalty with a curling first time shot that came back off the crossbar.
Shamrock Rovers: Chencinski; Madden, Devine, Webster, Clarke; McAllister, Finn; Meenan (O’Connor, 90 mins), Burke, Connolly (Doona, 81 mins); Shaw (Boyd, 73 mins).
Cork City: McNulty; McCormack, Dunleavy (Bennett, 70 mins), Delaney, O’Connor; Morrissey, Buckley; Beattie (Sheppard, 61 mins), Keohane, Dooley (Ellis, 77 mins); Maguire.
Referee: J McKell (Tipperary).