League Report: Shelbourne 2 - 1 Cork City
Patrick O’Connor reports from Tolka Park
Shelbourne recorded a deserved 2-1 win over a spirited but relegation threatened Cork City at Tolka Park on Friday night.
And in doing so, they leapfrogged Bohemians into the top four with only six games to play.
The win puts them one point ahead of their Dublin rivals whom they next meet at Dalymount Park on Monday night.
Shels were full value for their win, although they met resistance from a highly-motivated Cork side.
Their combination of vastly experienced players like Paddy Barrett and JJ Lunney and recent imports like Will Jarvis and Harry Wood helped them over the line.
City cannot complain about the end result but they gave it their best shot.
Nine points behind Sligo Rovers, albeit with a game in hand, City have a very challenging last six games to play which means a promotion/relegation play-off is looming.
Damien Duff’s side started the game on the front foot with Mark Coyle biting into tackles and Jack Moylan running very good angles up front.
City looked brittle at the back during those opening stages.
The Leesiders appeared to have weathered the storm by keeping it scoreless for the opening 25 minutes and even threatened themselves for a period with Cian Bargary very prominent along their right flank and Ruari Keating industrious up front.
But their hard work counted for nothing however as they fell behind to a Moylan goal in the 29th minute.
City were slow to clear the ball from their own box and when it fell to Moylan, he seemed to have lots of time to pick his spot and he rifled it past Ollie Byrne for the opening goal.
Liam Buckley’s side showed their fighting spirit and responded well to that setback by getting back on level terms by the 36th minute.
Former Cambridge United man Ben Worman got inside the Shelbourne defence and his whipped cross was handled by Barrett.
Referee David Dunne immediately pointed to the spot with in-form forward Keating lashing his effort home to grab his 12th goal this season.
City would have settled for being on level terms at half time but they conceded another goal in the second minute of first-half injury time.
A quick counter attack started with keeper Conor Kearns playing the ball to Wood.
And his pinpoint pass found Jarvis who slid the ball past Byrne.
The Reds largely dominated the second half and cut through the Cork City defence with ease at times.
But they could not kill off their resistance and needed all their experience to manage the game to the final whistle.
They succeeded in doing this however and bagged the three points which propels them onto 49 points – and they are one clear of Bohs.
They will be brimming with confidence when they step out against their arch rivals on Monday night and will seek to consolidate their fourth spot on the table.
But it does not get any easier for Liam Buckley’s team who are on the road again on Monday evening when they play Dundalk at Oriel Park.
Shelbourne: Conor Kearns, Shane Griffin, Paddy Barrett (Andrew Quinn 46), Gavin Molloy, JJ Lunney (Brian MacManus 87), Mark Coyle, Euclides Da Silva Cabral (Tyreke Wilson 56), Harry Wood, Shane Farrell (Evan Caffrey 70), Will Jarvis (JR Wilson 87), Jack Moylan
Subs not used: Harry Fisk, Jad Hakiki, Luke Byrne, Gerdi Arubi.a
Booked: Mark Coyle (10), Paddy Barrett (20)
Cork City: Ollie Byrne, Chris Coleman, Aaron Bolger, Jonas Hakkinen, Josh Honahan (Gordon Walker. 81), Ben Worman (Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh, 81) Andri Kravchuk, Malik Dijksteel, Conor Drinan, Cian Bargary, Ruairi Keating.
Subs not used: Jimmy Corcoran, Ally Gilchrist, Oran Crowe, John O Donavan, Cian Murphy, Jaze Kabia, Joshua Fitzpatrick.
Booked: Ruairi Keating (23), Cian Coleman (56).
Referee: David Dunne.
Extratime.com Player of the Match: JJ Lunney (Shelbourne).
Stephen Bradley on being five points clear with five games to go: ‘If you said to me at the start of the year that would be the case, I'd have taken that all day long’ https://t.co/4msBeyKP0Fpic.twitter.com/mvB3nX5ynC— Extratime.com (@ExtratimeNews) September 23, 2023