Stalemate as Rovers fail to capitalise
Shamrock Rovers 0-0 Cork City
IT was honours even at Tallaght Stadium, although Shamrock Rovers will feel they should have closed the gap on their visitors.
Sub Sean Boyd had their best chances to win it, while Gearoid Morrissey could have snatched all three points for Cork late on.
Both teams were looking to pick up where they left off before the break.
Hoops boss Pat Fenlon made one enforced change to the team that had beaten St Patrick's Athletic 2-0. Gavin Brennan came in for brother Killian, who missed out through suspension.
Cork also made one adjustment to the side that beat Dundalk, with Michael McSweeney replaced at right-back by Conor McCarthy.
The opening chance of the game came in the 12th minute when Stephen McPhail's sublime cross-field ball beat Conor McCarthy and set Dean Clarke free. However, the Rovers winger delayed, allowing Mark McNulty to easily block his effort.
Stephen Dooley, Cork's hero in the win over Dundalk, had their first effort, but it didn't trouble Craig Hyland.
Sean Maguire could have put Cork ahead in the 23rd minute when he picked up Dooley's cross but flashed his low shot just wide of the far post.
Maguire was involved in the game's most controversial moment when he chased a ball over the top and stooped to head it on the edge of the box.
Rob Cornwall cleared the ball but referee Paul McLaughlin blew for a free, ruling that the Rovers defender's foot was high.
Greg Bolger dragged the free-kick well wide before Kenny Browne's silly effort from a free-kick on the halfway line.
The game really opened up in the second half and Rovers started it the better, but Brandon Miele's wayward shot couldn't get them going.
Browne was forced to slice Clarke's low cross over his own crossbar and the corner eventually dropped to McPhail, whose powerful drive was well blocked.
The Hoops were well on top and sub Boyd should have won it for them, but he mistimed his header after excellent play involving Brennan, Pat Cregg and Simon Madden. Six minutes from the end, the teenager forced an excellent save from McNulty, after glancing Miele's curling corner towards goal.
Cork could have stolen it in injury time, but Morrissey's shot dropped just wide.
Both teams will now turn their focus to important Europa League games next week.
Shamrock Rovers - Hyland; Madden, Cornwall, Heaney, D O'Connor; Cregg, McPhail, G Brennan, Miele, D Clarke (T Clarke, 77); Shaw (Boyd, 58).
Cork City - McNulty; McCarthy (Turner, 59), Bennett, Browne, K O'Connor; Bolger, Morrissey; Beattie, Holohan (O'Sullivan, 59), Dooley (Morrissey 73); Maguire.
Ref - P McLaughlin.