Date: 8 p.m. Oct. 20, 2009
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
Ref: Damien Hancock
Att: 5,000 (est)
Rover took the lead in only the third minute with the first attack of the game. Following good work down the left involving Graham Barrett, Ross Chisholm’s cross was flicked clear by Dan Murray only for Pat Sullivan to drive the ball past Mark McNulty at his near post. Although the shot had power the Cork keeper might have done better as he got a hand to the shot.
‘Were gonna to win the league’ sang the Rovers faithful as they created a cracking atmosphere throughout. Despite this it was Cork who had most of the attacking play as Rovers chose to sit back and protect their lead. Faz Kuduzovic looked lively throughout with his excellent link play was at the heart of every Cork attack. The Bosnian striker continued to the fore as Cork hit the side netting twice firstly from Kuduzovic himself and then when he played in Cillian Lordan who shot from a tight angle.
A crucial moment came just before half time when Dessie Baker found Shane Robinson in acres of space down the right flank but his shot flashed past the far post when he should have at least found the target.
The second half started with Dennehy turning onto his right foot and shooting powerfully towards the bottom corner only to be denied by an excellent full length save from Alan Mannus. But the Hoops did not heed that warning as an equaliser came from a stunning strike from a similar position, again from Dennehy. There appeared to be no danger from a long ball until the midfielder controlled and unleashed a left foot strike that found the net low in the right hand corner. The home side were shell shocked and almost conceded to the same player within a minute, Dennehy yet again finding space only to shoot over.
With news of Bohemians winning and knowing that his side needed victory, Michael O’Neill decided to gamble and brought on Gary Twigg for defender Ian Bermingham. It didn’t work, for within two minutes Cork stunned the home side on the break again with a strike even better than the first. O’Connor hesitated and was dispossessed when in a good position and within seconds the ball was deep in Rovers territory. It was played to Shane Duggan who let the ball go across his body before, with the outside of his left foot; hitting a perfect strike that went in off the far post. A stunning finish that appeared to shock even the player himself.
The Cork goal was then under siege as Rovers pushed Aiden Price forward and pumped countless long balls into the opposition box. This failed to work and if anything the home players just got in each other’s way as Cork dealt with the threat without McNulty having to make a save of note. Sullivan came closest to an equaliser by heading just over but it was poor tactic from Rovers to just launch ball after ball into the Tallaght sky.
Indeed a creative element in midfield was lacking throughout with Stephen Bradley out injured. Rovers will be desperately disappointed as they slip a point behind their arch rivals with just three games remaining while Cork have cemented themselves in third place despite their recent off field troubles. With only a point separating the top two the season will go down to the wire but based on tonight’s performance, Rovers have an uphill task starting away to Dundalk on Friday night.
Shamrock Rovers (4-4-2) Mannus; Sullivan, Maguire, Price, Bermingham (Twigg ’74); Robinson©, Rice (O’Connor ‘56), Chisholm, Cahill; Baker (Amond ’68), Barrett.
Subs not used; Murphy(gk), Treacy.
Cork City (4-4-2) McNulty; Horgan, Murray ©, Long, Murphy; Lordan, O’Donnell, O’Halloran, Dennehy; Kuduzovic, Cambridge(Duggan ’63).
Subs not used; Silagailas, Tong, Deasy.
Attendence: 5,000 approx, (estimate).
Man of the match; Could easily have gone to Dennehy but Faz Kuduzovic deservers it for being a constant danger and looking a class act throughout.