Five goals from Graham Burke ensured FAI Cup winners Shamrock Rovers had a perfect homecoming to Tallaght Stadium on Friday night in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division with a 6-0 win over Cork City.
A crowd of 5,106 welcomed The Hoops home after their penalty shoot-out win over Dundalk last November. The celebrations on the night were further boosted by last week’s opening day derby win against Bohemians, which led to a colourful and vocal reception for the team.
From the first whistle the Rebel Army were determined to upset the party. Setting up in a 4-5-1, Fenn had the team designed to congest the play and frustrate Rovers, with Deshane Dalling and Dylan McGlade coming forward to counter.
Through this wall of resistance, Rovers broke the deadlock on thirty minutes when Graham Burke tapped in a misplaced pass from Joseph Olowu. The forward grabbed his second of the game on the stroke of half time after he headed in a cross from Ronan Finn.
City’s night got then got even worse when Dalling was sent off for a rash challenge on Joey O’Brien.
A combination of Neil Farrugia and Burke helped set Jack Byrne in on goal and make it 3-0. Five minutes later, Farrugia played Burke into space where he hammered the ball past Liam Bossin in to complete his hat-trick.
Burke’s fourth goal came from a handling error by Bossin, who palmed a venomous strike into the goal.
With four minutes left, a deflection from a scrambling City defence saw a strike from Burke roll gently into the back of the net.
Cork City will have no time to linger on this result as they travel to Dundalk on Monday with Shamrock Rovers heading south to face Waterford on the same night.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan McManus,Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Joey O’Brien, Neil Farrugia, Ronan Finn, Graham Burke, Gary O’Neil, Aaron McEneff (Dylan Watts 61’), Jack Byrne, Aaron Greene (Dean Williams 66’).
Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Liam Scales, Greg Bolger, Daniel Lafferty.
Booking: Joey O’Brien (Yellow Card).
Cork City FC: Liam Bossin; Henry Ochieng, Gearoid Morrissey, Dylan McGlade (Rob Slevin 72’), Daire O’Connor (Reyon Dillon 45’), Ronan Hurley, Alec Byrne (Charlie Fleming 66’), Kyron Stabana, Dillon Redmond, Deshane Dalling, Joseph Olowu.
Subs not used: Mark McNulty, Corey Galvin, Cian Murphy, Benoin O’Brien Whitmarsh.
Booking: Dreshane Dalling (Red Card).
Referee: Sean Grant
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Graham Burke