From Brendan Graham at Tallaght Stadium
Shamrock Rovers recorded an emphatic 3-0 victory over Cork City at Tallaght Stadium on Monday evening thanks to goals from Graham Burke, Ethan Boyle and Roberto Lopes and an extremely impressive performance.
The game was only four minutes old when Burke unleashed an unstoppable effort from 25 yards and into the top corner of the net for his ninth of the season to give the home side an early lead.
Cork City looked very unsettled in the opening minutes of the game and uncharacteristically gave the ball away a number of times as the Hoops pressed high and maintained their early pressure.
Aaron Bolger attempted a cheeky lob of Mark McNulty in the City goal after ten minutes, making the most of more sloppy defending from John Caulfield’s side but he was unable to keep his effort on target.
The Hoops had opened the game much the brighter team and were being rewarded for their hard work, energy and work rate.
It took till the mid-point of the half for Cork City to get their first real chance of the game. Garry Buckley got onto the end of an early Barry McNamee cross but the ball was deflected out for a corner which Rovers dealt with easily.
Stephen Bradley’s men were excellent in the first half both with a special mention for 18-year-old Aaron Bolger who was running the show in midfield.
His side were very impressive in negating any threat from the Leesiders, while at the same time making sure to take the few chances that came their way at the other end.
Ethan Boyle had the ball in the net and the home side 2-0 to the good after 26 minutes. The former Finn Harps defender had plenty of time to poke the ball home from close range off a Sean Kavanagh corner to score his first goal for the Hoops.
It was no less than the home side deserved and they kept their two goal half time lead thanks to a great double save by Kevin Horgan just before the break. The Hoops fans very much enjoyed the opening half against the champions.
The second half started much more evenly than the first with City enjoying a bit more possession and holding onto the ball a lot better as well.
It was Rovers though who had the opening chance of the second period as they looked to put the game to bed. A neat one-two between Boyle and Burke left Burke teed up for a shot but he rushed at it and fired badly wide.
Half time substitute Karl Sheppard had a lively start when he came on, almost finding himself alone in front of goal but Joey O’Brien managed to recover well and deflect the ball away for a corner.
Burke came close to his second of the game with a blistering free kick from 25 yards flying past everyone as far as McNulty in the goal but the City ‘keeper did just enough to palm the ball to safety.
The Hoops were three in front on the hour mark though with Roberto Lopes getting himself on the scoresheet.
Lopes left it late to make his run into the back of the box and into the path of a flicked on free kick. He was able to bundle the ball home to the delight of the home fans.
It was very unusual to see the league champions played off the pitch and reduced to a handful of chances over the course of the entire 90 minutes but this is exactly what was witnessed at Tallaght Stadium.
There were late chances for the away side through Kieran Sadlier and Graham Cummins but they were efforts from too far out to ever trouble Horgan in the Rovers goal.
Rovers recorded a very impressive victory, their third straight against City at Tallaght Stadium, with a performance that should give them much needed confidence as they look to put together a run of form.
Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Joey O’Brien, Sean Kavanagh; Aaron Bolger, Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn ( Brandon Miele 85); Graham Burke (Dave McAllister 75); Gary Shaw.
Subs not used: Tomer Chencinski, Luke Byrne, Ally Gilchrist, Sam Bone, Dean Dillon.
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Colm Horgan, Sean McLoughlin, Conor McCarthy, Danny Kane (Jimmy Keohane h/t), Conor McCormack (Karl Sheppard h/t), Gearoid Morrissey (Josh O’Hanlon 66), Garry Buckley, Barry McNamee, Kieran Sadlier, Graham Cummins.
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Alan Bennett, Aaron Barry, Steven Beattie
Referee: Rob Rodgers
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Greg Bolger (Shamrock Rovers)
What a performance, what a win! GET IN! pic.twitter.com/nogq17GAzv— Shamrock Rovers F.C. (@ShamrockRovers) April 30, 2018