League Report: Cork City 1 - 0 Shamrock Rovers


Ruairi Keating was the matchwinner once more as Cork City defeated Shamrock Rovers at Turner's Cross Credit: David Ribeiro (ETPhotos)

A late winner from Ruairi Keating won it for Cork City after Shamrock Rovers saw three players sent off in a night of high drama at Turner’s Cross on Friday night. 


The game between high-flying Rovers and a City side struggling to stay off the bottom of the table started unspectacularly. Certainly, Rovers had the better of things in the opening half but Liam Buckley’s Cork side defended well and, without overly threatening the Rovers defence, played their part in a relatively mild mannered contest.


That would change as the evening went on but what goal scoring opportunities there were came from the visitors. Markus Poom guided a shot narrowly over the bar after 15 minutes before Richie Towell cut across the ball to send his effort curling savagely towards the far post. Had it curled just a little more it might have provided an opener but curl-a-bit-more it did not.


Then Gary O’Neill had a pop at the Cork goal with a shot that perhaps looked closer than it was but there was no denying that the Hoops were the team with their dander up.


The most significant act of the first half, however, occerred at the other end of the pitch just nine minutes from the break. Barry Coffey delivered a corner from the left and while Keating and Lopes met under ball at the near post, Richie Towell and Gordon Walker were getting entagled at the back post.


Initially referee Sean Grant awarded a goal-kick but his attention was called by the assistant on the far side and the result was a straight red for Towell. 


Coming out for the second half a man down Rovers would surely have had a chat about the need for discipline but this was not a message transmitted to substitute Johnny Kenny who found himself in the book for dissent within 30 seconds of replacing Rory Gaffnet after 56 minutes. 


Kenny lasted just five minutes more, getting a second yellow after a rather innocuous coming together in the centre circle just after the hour mark. If the second card was harsh, the first had been foolish, and the young striker’s departure left his nine remaining team-mates with a daunting task.


That daunting task became more challenging just two minutes later when Sean Hoare found himself similarly double-whammied by referee Grant. As with Kenny his first card came from a moment of dissent. Then, just thirty seconds later he played a contested ball, cleanly, with his studs up. There was no question of contact with his opponent but Grant saw enough in it to pull out a second yellow.


At this point the game had taken on a surreal quality but the fact was Cork City had a three man advantage and were only level with their under-staffed opponents. Naturally, it was they who took on the attacking initiative over the final half-hour but while they pressed forwards they seldom threatened Leon Pohls’ goal.


Roberto Lopes was particularly impressive in keeping the hosts at bay, covering, blocking and reading the game superbly. But as time wore on and legs tired the gaps that City found became wider and more promising.


With just four minutes left on the clock the breakthrough came. City played the ball into space on the right and Kevin Custovic drilled a bullet-like cross low across the box. Keating met it just six yards from goal and crashed the ball into the Rovers net.


That was it, the one decisive move that City needed, and when the whistle finally sounded Rovers boss Stephen Bradley quickly dispatched a member of his staff to keep his incensed players away from the referee, a task he managed only with great difficulty.


Cork City: Jimmy Corcoran; Gordon Walker (John O’Donovan 82), Jonas Hakkinen Josh Honahan, Joe O’Brien Whitmarsh; Darragh Crowley, Aaron Bolger, Barry Coffey, (Daniel Krezic 67) Kevin Custovic; Tunde Owalabi (Cian Murphy 82), Ruairi Keating


Subs Not Used: Eanna Fitzgerald, Josh Fitzpatrick, Colin Henderson, Daniel Moynihan, Ciaran O’Sullivan

Booked: Tunde Owalabi (67), Aaron Bolger (82).

Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Sean Kavanagh, Pico; Jack Byrne (Aaron Greene 77), Neil Farrugia (Ronan Finn 68), Gary O'Neill, Markus Poom (Darragh Nugent 77), Richie Towell; Rory Gaffney (Johnny Kenny 56).

Subs not used: Toms Leitis, Sean Gannon, Liam Burt, Graham Burke, Conan Noonan.

Booked: Neil Farrugia (40), Johnny Kenny (56), Johnny Kenny (61), Sean Hoare (63), Sean Hoare (63), Pico (89), Sean Kavanagh (90).
Sent off: Richie Towell (36), Johnny Kenny (61), Sean Hoare (63).

Attendance: 4240


Extratime Player of the Match: Aaron Bolger (Cork City)