Date: 7:45 p.m. Feb. 4, 2011
With Turner’s Cross unavailable, City got the chance to revisit the ground which hosted one of their most memorable games, when Dave Barry ballooned home in 1991 against Bayern Munich. There was no such impressive continental opposition on a , although the Hoops showed their prowess when they brought on their big guns at the interval.
Paddy Kavanagh snatched the winner entering the latter stages of the game for Rovers, but the result will matter less than the performance as both outfits took another step towards full fitness.
Gearoid Morrissey, who impressed in midfield from the beginning, had a wind assisted punt from over thirty yards that caused Alan Mannus some nervy moments inside the opening two minutes, and there could have been rightful grievances from both sides with Mother Nature as any time the ball was over six foot in the air, it took on a mind of its own.
Still, that didn’t deem what was a worthwhile workout for both sides completely useless despite the conditions coming into play again in the ninth minute when Anto Murphy’s speculative strike almost caught Mark McNulty out, only for the Cork stopper to tip the ball over his own bar.
Worryingly for the home side, Graham Cummins broke down just ten minutes into the tie, with what appeared to be an ankle injury but he confirmed soon after that it’s not too serious and was taken off just as a precaution.
With chants of ‘One Cockney Rebel’ emanating from the crowd that did brave the horrible weather, Danny Murphy, after switching his allegiances back to Leeside for 2011, was unlucky not to break the deadlock when his deflected effort was just about smothered by Mannus.
Rovers, fresh from a week of training in Killarney, were unusually quiet and with a substantial share less of the ball than they were used to; their frustration was shown when Billy Dennehy hacked down Danny Murphy.
The ex-Cork player picked up a booking for his troubles and from the resulting free-kick, French trialist Vincent Escude-Candau was on hand to bundle the ball in from six yards out just two minutes before the break, doing his chances of earning a contract no harm in the process.
A spate of changes on both sides resulted in a completely different second half and Dennehy immediately redeemed himself with a darting run down the left just thirty seconds after the break. His cross could only be parried by another trialist, Romanian goalkeeper Mihai Lasc, with Gary McCabe drilling the resulting shot into the gaping net to draw parity between the sides.
Rovers took firm control of the game from that point on and Dennehy tested the shaky hands of Lasc with a low drive on the hour mark. Gary Twigg was one of those introduced at the break and he could have given Rovers an advantage only for his header to drift narrowly over the bar on 65.
Some slack play at the back from the Hoops saw Vinny Sullivan gifted a glorious chance in the 76th minute, but he was off-balance when shooting wide to the left of the goal in a terrific position. Within twenty seconds, the Premier Division side were ahead though as Kavanagh caught Lasc napping and powered home a terrific effort from 30 yards which rocketed high into the net.
Cork’s attempts at finding an equaliser proved feeble and apart from Alan Carey blasting miles over from a Danny Murphy lay-off four minutes before the end, Michael O’Neill’s team were always the more comfortable looking outfit once they levelled at the beginning of the half.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Danny Murphy, Paddy Deane, Gearóid Morrissey, Davin O’Neill, Vincent Escude-Candau, Graham Cummins, Kalen Spillane, Ryan Gyaki, Gavin Kavanagh, Neal Horgan.
Subs: Vinny Sullivan (Cummins, 12mins), Ian Turner (Horgan, ht), Timmy Kiely (Deane, ht), Mihai Lasc (McNulty, ht), Lee Currie (Gyaki, ht), Jamie Murphy (Escude-Canday, 70mins), Alan Carey (Spillane, 78mins).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Anto Murphy, Pat Flynn, Pat Sullivan, Enda Stevens, Gary McCabe, Charlie Grant, Stephen O’Donnell, Billy Dennehy, Karl Sheppard, Ciaran Kilduff.
Subs: Gary Twigg (Sheppard, ht), Chris Turner (O’Donnell, ht), Dan Murray (Murphy, ht), Stephen Rice (Grant, ht), Connor McCormack (Kilduff, ht), Dean Kelly (Flynn, ht), Paddy Kavanagh (McCabe, 62mins), Christy Fagan (Dennehy, 62mins).