Wednesday 18 July 2018

Beattie's blistering start helps to keep Cork on an upward curve

Cork City 2-0 Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon, right, makes his way off the pitch after the game Photo: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE
Shamrock Rovers manager Pat Fenlon, right, makes his way off the pitch after the game Photo: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE
Cork City's Sean Maguire (far left) has his shot saved on the line by Shamrock Rovers' Gavin Brennan Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Cork City's Michael McSweeney in action against Shamrock Rovers' Trevor Clarke Photo: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE Newsdesk Newsdesk

For the second time in four days, an early Cork City blitz paved the way for an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win at Turner’s Cross.

Having led inside a minute and a half against Finn Harps on Friday night, City took an even earlier lead here against Shamrock Rovers, providing a platform to move up to third in the table, four points behind leaders Dundalk. There were only 26 seconds gone when Steven Beattie deposited the ball in the visitors’ net. No visiting player had touched the ball from kick-off as Bolger sent a ball over the defence, allowing the winger to turn Luke Byrne and fire in at the near post.

Having had three league draws in a row before beating Harps 3-1, it was the perfect start for the home side, who have another home game against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.

Unfortunately for Rovers, things got worse for Byrne, making his first league appearance of the season, as he had to retire with a twisted knee on 10 minutes. With Rovers struggling to get a rhythm the hosts continued to dictate and it was 2-0 on 12 minutes. Michael McSweeney’s cross saw the ball bobble around in the area, allowing Karl Sheppard to send a low shot past Barry Murphy.

Soon after, they might have had a third as a Kevin O’Connor corner saw Sheppard challenge Murphy and then his shot was kept off the line by Rovers captain Patrick Cregg, though the fans behind the goal felt he had used his hand to do so.

On 34 minutes, Beattie might have made had another when he got on the end of Alan Bennett’s clearance but he fired low across goal and wide, while in injury time Cregg made another vital clearance on the line, denying Gearóid Morrissey this time.

In front of 2,731 fans, Rovers did have a bit more about them early in the second half but, barring a speculative effort by debutant Brendan Clarke, they failed to offer much in attack.

The bulk of the chances continued to come at the St Anne’s End (Rovers won the toss and made City play into the ‘Shed’ End in the first half), but it failed to knock them out of their stride.

Sheppard was wide with a low shot after a ropey Murphy clearance, while it took a good Maxime Blanchard tackle to deny him after Maguire set him up. Cregg did test McNulty, but the outcome was assured long before the end.

Cork City – McNulty; McSweeney, Bennett, Dunleavy, O’Connor; Bolger (Healy 90), G Morrissey (Holohan 90); Beattie, Buckley, Sheppard (D Morrissey 89); Maguire

Shamrock Rovers – Murphy; Madden, Webster, Blanchard, Byrne (McCaffrey 10); Cregg, K Brennan; G Brennan, Miele, T Clarke; D Clarke (North 80)

Ref – J McKell (Tipperary)

Irish Independent

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