Shamrock Rovers safely through to next round of EA Sports Cup
EA Sports Cup round-up
Shamrock Rovers came through a tricky EA Sports Cup second-round tie against Cabinteely in Stradbrook last night, while Derry City, Cork City and Galway United also advanced to the third round.
Rovers’ 2-0 win didn’t tell the full story of what was a difficult match at the famous rugby venue.
Two goals in the space of six second-half minutes from Sean O’Connor and Brandon Miele helped them into the next round but it wasn’t all plain sailing for Pat Fenlon’s team.
The sizeable crowd could have been forgiven for thinking they were watching a rugby match. The theme of a low-key game was long balls and long throws. The terrible playing surface didn’t allow the teams to do anything other than route one. Trying to pass or dribble with the ball proved next to impossible at times.
Stephen McPhail was in midfield for Rovers and has probably never played on a surface like Stradbrook’s.
Fenlon made ten changes from the team that beat Galway last Friday night and it took them until the 58th minute to get the opening goal.
Rob Cornwall’s long ball dropped over the Cabinteely defence and a hesitant Cabo goalkeeper Evan Whelan allowed Sean O’Connor to head over the static goalkeeper and into the empty net. Cabo had claims for offside waved away.
Cabinteely faded in the second half, which wasn’t surprising as the same 11 who started their defeat in Cobh 48 hours earlier were picked again by Eddie Gormley. They will count themselves unlucky to have conceded the second goal in the way they did.
Cabo half-cleared a corner and the ball dropped to Miele at the edge of the box, from where his shot smashed off Shane O’Neill and flew past Whelan into the corner. A freak goal but Miele won’t complain – that was his second goal in four days.
The only other noteworthy moment of the second half was an injury to ref Adriano Reale with ten minutes left.
Fourth official Derek Tomney replaced his injured colleague for the final minutes and Reale was treated by Rovers’ physio Tony McCarthy.
Meanwhile, the early-season pressure continues to build on Sligo boss Owen Heary as they lost 2-0 to Derry City after extra-time at The Showgrounds. Goals from Seamus Sharkey and Mark Timlin sent Peter Hutton’s team through.
Sligo are still without a league win under Heary and have won just one of his eight competitive games in charge. That was an 8-0 win over the Mayo League in the previous round of the EA Sports Cup.
Ross Gaynor’s penalty two minutes after half-time and a second from sub Rob Lehane secured ten-man Cork City’s passage to the third round with a 2-0 win over First Division Waterford United at the RSC. Gavan Holohan saw red for City in the 65th minute.
Premier Division Galway United avoided a giant-killing exit against Cockhill Celtic. The non-league team took the lead but Galway came back to win 4-2 thanks to goals from Andy O’Connell, Gary Shanahan and two from Padraic Cunningham.