Teen hero Bazunu saves Sadlier spot-kick to earn point for Hoops
Cork City 0 Shamrock Rvs 0
It was a frustrating night at the office for Cork City as their perfect record at Turner's Cross in the Premier Division this season came to an end.
Shamrock Rovers, through some organised defending, but especially thanks to an exceptional goalkeeping display from 16-year-old Gavin Bazunu, went back to Dublin with a well-earned point. John Caulfield's side had the majority of the possession, but they were missing that magic touch in front of goal on the night.
In the opening half City had the better of the exchanges, but overall it saw limited goalmouth action.
Gary Buckley and Graham Cummins linked up well during a move in the 23rd minute, with the former firing left and wide.
The hosts also threatened with another finely composed move. Shane Griffin chipped the ball into Karl Sheppard and after he chested the ball down, Gearóid Morrissey blazed over the bar.
Sean McLoughlin went close with a header which was saved well by Bazunu in the Rovers goal, while Kieran Sadlier's free-kick from the left clipped the crossbar.
Stephen Bradley's charges, whose only effort of note in the opening 45 was an effort by Greg Bolger that sailed wide, went in at the break after having contained the Cork attack and would do likewise after the break.
City went close with a free-flowing move at the start of the second half. Sadlier played a neat through ball into the path of Graham Cummins, who fired just off target. Cork were awarded a penalty on the hour mark when Sheppard was taken down in the box by Joey O'Brien.
The home support were expecting Kieran Sadlier to continue his 100pc spot kick conversion record this term. But Bazunu had other ideas, getting down well to his right to save.
He also came to the aid of his side not long after, denying a headed effort on goal by Karl Sheppard. Cork continued to search desperately for an opening goal, with Sadlier snatching at efforts from distance. By this stage there was a nervous atmosphere in the air, with the Hoops maintaining their discipline at the back.
Despite their best efforts to snatch a late winner, Cork were lacking that killer touch in front of goal. They now trail leaders Dundalk by four points.
Rovers went close with an effort late on from Joul Coustrain. But they had done more than enough in the end to earn a share of the spoils.
Next up for both City and Rovers is the commencement of their European odysseys in midweek.
Cork City - McNulty(Cherrie, 88) : McCarthy(Beattie, 71) , Bennett, McLoughlin, Griffin: Morrissey, McCormack: Sheppard, Buckley, Sadlier: Cummins(O'Hanlon, 64).
Shamrock Rovers - Bazunu: O'Brien, Lopes, Grace: Boyle, Bone, G Bolger, S Kavanagh, B Kavanagh(Coustrain, 55) : Finn, Carr.
Ref - R Hennessy (Limerick)