Cork City took a massive step towards catching Dundalk at the top of the table on Friday night as they overcame a dominant Shamrock Rovers team in their own back yard thanks to goals from Mark O'Sullivan and Gearoid Morrissey.
This encounter between the fourth best and the second best teams in the league started in a somewhat ugly fashion as both teams flew into challenges with Cork receiving two early yellow cards in the process.
However the first major chance took a little while longer to arrive with Cork’s Garry Buckley attempting to test Barry Murphy with a 25 yard effort that went only marginally over the crossbar.
In a first half hour that contained few chances Mark O'Sullivan went close as he connected with a header from Billy Dennehy's cross. The header left Murphy stranded but luckily for the home side’s keeper it also managed to land on the top of the net rather than in it.
With less than five minutes to play in the opening half Kieran Marty Waters had his side’s best chance of the game so far when he cut inside to get free from his man before attempting to curl the ball into the far corner of McNulty's goal. With Kilduff looking set to pounce on the rebound Dan Murray stepped in to clear the danger and keep the score level going into the half time break.
It was just three minutes into the second half when Cork took the lead as Brian Lenihan went on a lung busting run from the heart of midfield before pulling the ball back across the six yard box for the waiting Mark O'Sullivan to smash home.
Chances were not in abundance until the last ten minutes when Rovers really stepped on the gas. First Kieran Marty Waters hit the post with a sublime free kick. The effort was so close that the ball rolled along the goal line before being hooked clear.
There was more to come as a Ryan Brennan header went only marginally over the bar. It may well have ended up in the back of the net had a Cork City defender managed to get his head to the ball and deflect it up and over McNulty's bar.
Deep into injury time with Rovers pushing a high percentage of their players up the field Mark O'Sullivan nicked possession. He then slid the ball to his side to allow Gearoid Morrisey to steal in and slot home, the goal prompting wild scenes of celebration amongst the members of the Cork bench.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Robert Cornwall; Ryan Brennan, Shane Robinson (Robert Bayly 72), Ronan Finn, Sean O'Connor (Eamon Zayed 57), Kieran Waters; Ciaran Kilduff (Dean Kelly 64).
Subs Not Used: Craig Hyland, David O'Connor, Evan Osam, Karl Sheppard.
Bookings: Shane Robinson (70).
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy, Darren Dennehy, Dan Murray, Garry Buckley (John Kavanagh 75); Brian Lenihan, Colin Healy, Gearoid Morrissey, Liam Kearney (Dave O'Leary 64), Billy Dennehy (Robert Lehane 89); Mark O'Sullivan.
Subs Not Used: Ian Turner, Danny Morrissey, Kevin O'Brien, Iarfhlaith Davoren.
Bookings: Colin Healy (2), John Dunleavy (11), Gearoid Morrissey (37), Mark McNulty (70).
Referee: Derek Tomney
Extratime.ie Man Of The Match: Gearoid Morrissey (Cork City) - The midfielder tracked Rovers players all night to limit the amount of chances the home side were able to create.