Sunday 20 May 2018

Sadlier spot on as Cork produce a response

Cork City 1 Shamrock Rovers 0

Cork City's Kieran Sadlier celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cork City's Kieran Sadlier celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Denis Hurley

Kieran Sadlier's penalty was the only goal as Cork City bounced back from Friday's defeat to Dundalk.

In front of 4,483 people, City led at half-time, though prior to the breakthrough Shamrock Rovers had played the better football and looked the likelier to break the deadlock.

Both sides made two changes. Following the 1-0 loss at Oriel Park, City were without the injured Steven Beattie, with Conor McCarthy moving to right-back while Seán McLoughlin came into central defence, while Barry McNamee replaced Garry Buckley in the number 10 role.

Having beaten Derry City 6-1, Rovers' Joey O'Brien and Luke Byrne came in for Ethan Boyle and Trevor Clarke.

Playing a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Sam Bone impressive in front of defence, Stephen Bradley's side were able to push up on Gearóid Morrissey and Conor McCormack in the City midfield and they applied the early pressure.

City centre-back Aaron Barry had to get an important block on a Dan Carr shot on 17 minutes when a Ronan Finn cross caused confusion in the home penalty area.

Cork City players celebrate. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cork City players celebrate. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Seán Kavanagh went close with a curling effort too after O'Brien - booked early on for a foul on McCormack - and Graham Burke had linked well. At the other end, Karl Sheppard tried to get Graham Cummins in behind the Rovers defence, but Kevin Horgan was quick off his line to clear.

The home side were improving though, and a low McNamee cross from Sadlier's pass needed a good Luke Byrne clearance. Moments later, it was Sadlier providing the cross and Cummins rose to meet it, his header coming back off the post. As he raced to the loose ball, so did Horgan and referee Robert Harvey, who sent Cummins off in the league opener against St Patrick's Athletic, adjudged the goalkeeper to have fouled the striker.

Sadlier stepped up to take the spot-kick and, as he had against Sligo Rovers a fortnight previously, he converted it, stroking the ball down the middle as Horgan dived to his right.

City began to play with more freedom and in the 43rd minute they almost doubled the lead as Sheppard attempted to flick in McNamee's low cross but Horgan saved.

Cork City's Shane Griffin in action against Shamrock Rovers' Ronan Finn. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cork City's Shane Griffin in action against Shamrock Rovers' Ronan Finn. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

City continued in that vein on the resumption, with Rovers' cause not helped by the loss of defender Ally Gilchrist to injury two minutes after the restart.

Dangerous

McNamee couldn't get enough on Sheppard's dangerous cross and though Carr had a half-chance at the other end, Mark McNulty dealt well with the danger.

On 58, Cummins should have doubled the lead, shooting just wide from an excellent Sadlier cross, and then five minutes later it was McNamee's turn, shooting over after Morrissey had disposed Bone and fed Cummins.

While Rovers didn't threaten much in the second half, they had a chance in the 83rd minute. From Kavanagh's corner, left-back Byrne met the ball and it hit the crossbar and bounced down, but City's man of the match Shane Griffin was able to get his clearance away.

That was as close as Rovers came and City saw it out.

CORK CITY - McNulty; McCarthy, Barry, McLoughlin, Griffin; McCormack, Morrissey; Sheppard, McNamee (Buckley 77), Sadlier (Keohane 84); Cummins.

SHAMROCK ROVERS - Horgan; O'Brien (Coustrain 70), Grace, Gilchrist (Lopes 47), Byrne; Bone; Miele (Clarke 67), Finn, Burke, Kavanagh; Carr.

REF - R Harvey (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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