League Preview: Cork City -v- Shamrock Rovers

Gary O'Neill (right) celebrates with goalscorer Aaron Greene in September 2020 when Cork City last hosted Shamrock Rovers at Turner's Cross

Gary O'Neill (right) celebrates with goalscorer Aaron Greene in September 2020 when Cork City last hosted Shamrock Rovers at Turner's Cross Credit: Steve Alfred (ETPhotos)


The Leesiders welcome Shamrock Rovers to Turner’s Cross for a match in front of fans for the first time since July 2019.

The last time the teams met was in Tallaght in the first week of March when City led 4-2 with eight minutes remaining, only to concede two late goals to share the spoils in an entertaining 4-4 draw.

Assistant Manager Richie Holland is wary of the threat his side faces when the Tallaght based team come to Turner’s Cross on Friday.

“Shamrock Rovers have some outstanding individuals and have had numerous high quality performances in the league and Europe in the last couple of years, it’s the ultimate test but one to look forward to,” said Holland as reported in the Independent.ie.

“They went on a bit of a run since we played them last. They probably didn’t start the season great by their own standards, but they’ve kicked on and shown in the last number of weeks that they’re a really top quality side.

“They’ve rightfully won the league for the last number of years because they’ve played the best football.

“When you work for a club like Cork City, every game is a big game, it doesn’t matter who it’s against. It’s exciting because if we put in a performance like we did up in Tallaght, you can get a result.

“You have to have a balance to it. If you go all gung-ho, they have good players and will find a way out. We have to be at our best to get something on Friday.”

City come into the game on the back of a confidence boosting 1-0 home win over Sligo Rovers last week. That stopped the rot of six consecutive loses all of which mean that the Leesiders still sit in the relegation play-off position.

They are six points clear of bottom side UCD but five off eighth placed Drogheda United above them in the table and have two players suspended (Cian Coleman, Matthew Healy) compared with Rovers' one (Lee Grace).


Having lost top spot last Friday night, along with a 13 game unbeaten streak, after their 2-1 home defeat to Drogheda United, Shamrock Rovers can return to the top of the table should they avoid defeat in Cork.

Table toppers Derry City, a point clear of the champions, play in Sligo on Saturday and so Stephen Bradley’s men have the chance to go ahead of the Candystripes before that match with any type of positive result.

Rovers rued their misses against Drogheda in Tallaght last week. Stephen Bradley reflecting on their loss said: “We had good opportunities and they made really good blocks in the box. There were obviously other times that we could have been better, and our finishing could have been better, but it was just one of those evenings. We just couldn't seem to put the ball in the net.

"Drogheda's two goals are two good goals from their point of view but poor from our point of view. In several areas for them we were really poor and, to be fair to Drogheda, they punished us."

The Hoops’ home record – with two home league defeats – is their worst since 2019 (when they only had two loses in Tallaght across the full season) but away from Dublin 24, the Hoops haven’t lost in the league since last September.

They have won their last five matches on the road, all without conceding a goal.

"I think you have to enjoy going to places like Turner's Cross because you know that the Cork fans are passionate, and they always get crowds. That's always nice and the pitch is usually decent and a good place to go and play.

“Our fans always travel in their numbers and I've no doubt they'll travel in their numbers on Friday and back the team until the final whistle. Hopefully we can send them home with three points."

“I think we've seen that in any every game we've played this year and I don't think Friday will be any different. We watched Cork last week and they were very good. They deserved to win and should have won by more. So we're under no illusions, we're going into a tough game.

"If we bring our performance level from Friday and tidy up in both boxes, we'll be OK."

Referee: Sean Grant



Rovers last win away to City came in September 2020 when Aaron Greene (2) and Neil Farrugia scored the goals in a 3-0 win.

Away from home, the Hoops have conceded just two league goals – goals conceded in the 1-1 draws in February against Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United.

The top scorers for both sides have got six league goals so far this season – Ruairi Keating for City and Graham Burke for Rovers.

2-0 away win


Cork City

Injured: n/a

Doubtful: n/a

Suspended: Cian Coleman, Matthew Healy

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Alan Mannus, Dylan Watts

Doubtful: Trevor Clarke

Suspended: Lee Grace