Monday 19 August 2019

McEneff stretches Rovers' lead to 10

Cork City 1 Shamrock Rovers 3

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley celebrates. Photo: Sportsfile

Denis Hurley

Stephen Bradley has had to wait for his first win at Turner's Cross, but it was worth the wait.

Shamrock Rovers hadn't won on Leeside since June 2013 - before John Caulfield became manager of the Rebel Army - but this victory never looked in doubt.

Cork City's Kevin O'Connor and Shamrock Rovers Ronan Finn. Photo: Sportsfile
Cork City's Kevin O'Connor and Shamrock Rovers Ronan Finn. Photo: Sportsfile

The result, coupled with Dundalk's loss at St Patrick's Athletic, means the Hoops have a 10-point lead, albeit having played two more games.

Before a crowd of 3,273, Rovers settled in to the game quickly.

Ronan Finn, instrumental in that win six years ago, and former City man Greg Bolger were impressive in midfield, and it was Bolger's low ball which allowed Seán Kavanagh to provide a near-post finish on 22 minutes.

A second goal almost followed immediately after that as Finn linked with Aaron Greene before curling a shot off the crossbar.

Shamrock Rovers' Aaron McEneff of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers' Aaron McEneff of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Sportsfile

Then, City thought they had equalised as Graham Cummins headed home a James Tilley free-kick but it was ruled out for offside.

Rovers were playing the better football though and they were 2-0 ahead on 37 minutes. After a good move, Finn found Aaron McEneff who did well to make space for himself before his shot deflected off Seán McLoughlin and past goalkeeper Mark McNulty.

Kevin O'Connor had a long-range effort parried by Alan Mannus as the home side tried to conjure a reaction and just before half-time they did pull one back.

When Gearóid Morrissey's corner was only half-cleared, Conor McCormack sent the ball back into the area and Dan Casey was able to divert it home.

Unfortunately for them, the home side weren't able to create anything of substance in the early period of the second half, McLoughlin and Cummins heading half-chances wide, and Rovers re-established the two-goal advantage just after the hour.

McEneff was again the scorer, getting his second with a 25-yard drive, having been found in space with a lovely disguised pass from Jack Byrne.

While City pushed to get back in the game, it was always a forlorn hope.

CORK CITY - McNulty; McCarthy, Casey, McLoughlin, K O'Connor (Griffin 72); McCormack, Morrissey; Tilley (Nash 64), Buckley, Sheppard (Smith 80); Cummins.

SHAMROCK ROVERS - Mannus; O'Brien, Lopes, Grace, Clarke; McEneff, Bolger; Byrne, Finn (Watts 81), S Kavanagh (B Kavanagh 90); Greene (Vojic 76).

Ref - R Harvey (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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