Patrick O Connor reports from Tolka Park
Cobh Ramblers gained a very valuable point following a 2-2 draw with First Division leaders Shelbourne in a pulsating game at Tolka Park on Friday night.
Cobh actually came into this game on the back of some good recent form following the appointment of Darren Murphy as manager and Cork legend John O’ Flynn as coach.
They had beaten Cabinteely 1-0 in the last league outing and won their FAI Cup match against Liffey Wanderers last weekend so they travelled up the M8 with a renewed confidence to face the league leaders on their home turf.
Shelbourne on the other hand were smarting from their very first defeat of the season having been beaten 2-0 by UCD in their Cup match on the previous Friday.
Shels seemed intent on exacting retribution for that Cup loss and they did make a very positive start to this game against Cobh with Michael O’Connor forcing Sean Barron into a good save when through on goals after only five minutes.
It was O’Connor again who got their opening goal of the match after ten minutes of play.
Centre forwards play most of the game with their backs to the opponent’s goal but on this occasion, O’Connor was facing the goals when he received the ball and he just quickly shifted the ball from his left foot to his right foot and unleashed a stunning shot into the top right- hand corner of the net to put the home side in front.
Ian Morris’ side went on to dominate the game for the next 15 minutes with O’Connor and left winger Dayle Rooney very prominent in their attacking moves.
They were rocked back in the 28th minute however when Cobh got an equaliser, somewhat against the run of play.
Cobh built a breakaway attack along the right wing and when Ian Turner evaded a defender and got to the end line, his pull back was met by Danny O’Connell who was quickest to react, blasting the ball past Brendan Clarke for a great goal.
The diminutive O’Connell was excellent throughout for the visitors and although ploughing a lone furrow up front on his own he gave Shelbourne centre backs Ally Gilchrist and Luke Byrne numerous problems all night.
Shelbourne had a chance to regain the lead in the 43rd minute when Rooney had a free kick in a great position just outside the box. His effort was poor however and the ball came off the wall but within a minute he had made amends.
This time Rooney got the ball with his back to goals but he swivelled and shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot all in the one movement and then buried his shot into the bottom left corner of the net, a fitting goal to mark his 100th appearance for the Reds.
Shels started the second half looking to kill off the game with a third goal and they almost succeeded when Georgie Poynton’s shot came off the post in the 57th minute.
They were rocked back for a second time in the 62nd minute however when Nathan O’Connell scored another cracking goal for Murphy’s side, he left Clarke stranded with a powerful swerving shot from outside the box that flew into the top right-hand corner of the net.
The equaliser was no more than Ramblers deserved as they showed great resilience throughout and had the look of a side playing with great confidence.
The Reds did try to bounce back a third time in the closing stages and they forced three free-kicks in Kevin O’Connor territory but on each occasion his left footed efforts came off the wall and were cleared.
The five minutes of additional time did not produce a fifth goal and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. A draw was a fair reflection of this high tempo game with Cobh delighted with their point picked up on the road while Shelbourne extended their unbeaten league run to an amazing 17 games.
Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; John Ross Wilson, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne, Kevin O'Connor; Shane Farrell, Dayle Rooney (Eric Molloy, 67) Ryan Brennan (Kameron Ledwidge 67), George Poynton (Brian McManus, 77), JJ Lunney, Michael O'Connor.
Subs not used: Cathal Byrne, Alex Nolan, Yassine En-Neyah, Gavin Molloy, Maxim Kouogun.
Booked: Michael O’Connor (64)
Cobh Ramblers: Sean Barron; John Kavanagh, Ben O ‘Riordan, Charlie Lyons, Ian Turner, Killian Cooper (Darren Murphy), Pierce Phillips (Jake Hegarty, 85), David O’Leary, Cian Murphy (Nathan Coleman, 79), Nathan O’ Connell, Danny O’ Connell.
Subs Not Used: Corey Chambers, Stephen O’ Leary, James McCarthy, Luke Kennedy, Fionn Duggan, Jason Duggan.
Booked: Pierce Phillips (23), Darren Murphy (79)
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan
Extratime. com Player of the Match: Danny O’Connell (Cobh Ramblers)