O'Sullivan the inspiration as City trample over Hoops on way to summit
Cork City 3 Shamrock Rovers 0
Cork City seized top spot in the table as they outclassed Shamrock Rovers at Turner's Cross.
While Cork manager John Caulfield has regularly spoken this season of how highly he rates the players at his disposal, surely even he must have been surprised at how easy they made this look, in front of 5,676 people.
The home side had almost all of the chances, with their pressing from the off ensuring that Rovers could never find a rhythm.
Having gone in leading 1-0 at half-time, the expectation might have been that City would have been subjected to an onslaught in the early stages of the second half, but instead the second goal, from Mark O'Sullivan, settled them.
Garry Buckley's all-action performance in midfield was a stand-out for the new league leaders, though Colin Healy and Gearoid Morrissey helped to ensure that Cork used the ball well throughout.
Billy Dennehy, who scored the first goal and assisted O'Sullivan's, was a constant thorn in Rovers' side and O'Sullivan ran himself into the ground for the cause.
Though the opening exchanges were relatively even, Cork certainly didn't appear overawed, and they took the lead on 14 minutes. After Liam Kearney played a ball in behind for O'Sullivan, he picked out Buckley with a cross and though Barry Murphy saved his header, Billy Dennehy applied the finish.
Far from jolting Rovers into life, the goal acted as a power source for Cork, as Dennehy, Buckley and Kearney all went close.
More than good value for their half-time advantage, Cork appeared to have been given a warning of Rovers' second-half intentions when Gary McCabe tested Mark McNulty from a free-kick on 49 minutes.
It was not a sign of things to come, though, and four minutes later Cork doubled the lead. Dennehy showed some trickery on the right to evade Luke Byrne and when he stood up his cross to the back post, an unmarked O'Sullivan headed home.
Buckley had another chance after the hour mark when he dispossessed Jason McGuinness and then the defender headed a Healy corner just over his own bar.
The resultant corner was only cleared back to Healy, whose cross travelled all the way through to Darren Dennehy, who made it 3-0 as City strolled towards the top of the table.
CORK CITY – McNulty; Lenihan, Murray, D Dennehy, Dunleavy; B Dennehy (Kavanagh 83), Morrissey, Healy (O'Leary 74), Buckley, Kearney; O'Sullivan (Lehane 89).
SHAMROCK ROVERS – Murphy; Madden, Kenna, McGuinness, Byrne; McCabe (Zayed 79), Brennan (McPhail 67), Robinson, O'Connor (Waters 57); Finn, Kilduff.
Ref – R Rogers (Dublin).