Shamrock Rovers 4
Cork City 4
CORK CITY let a two-goal lead slip as they conceded deep into injury time against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Monday night.
City had led 4-2 with six minutes remaining but a goal from Sean Hoare deep into injury time denied City a famous victory. It was a cruel result on City who were excellent.
City were positive in their play in the opening stages. Daniel Krezic, who was excellent against UCD in City’s last game, tested Alan Mannus early on but after fumbling the Swede’s effort, the Rovers keeper was able to gather at the second attempt.
City weren’t content to allow Rovers to have comfortable possession in their own half. Instead they pressed high as a team with the midfield supporting Ruairi Keating when hurted after the ball.
However all of City’s good work was undone in the 14th minute when Rory Gaffney gave the home side the lead. After making two excellent saves, firstly to Gary O’Neill and then Gaffney, Jimmy Corcoran was beaten when the latter was able to collect the rebound from his initial effort before composing himself and firing high into the City net to give the hosts the lead.
City were fortunate not to be further behind when Dylan Watts saw his free-kick come back off the crossbar. It was a well placed strike by the Rovers player, one that had beaten Corcoran but luckily for him and City, the crossbar came to the rescue.
Against the run of play City drew level in the 33rd minute. Cian Bargary low-driven cross was excellently met by Ruairi Keating, who guided the ball into the roof of the Rovers’ net. It was a fantastic finish by the City striker, one which complimented Keating’s wonderful movement to get across the defender at the front post.
City went ahead in spectacular fashion when Crowley scored a wonder goal. The City midfielder showed wonderful technique to execute a fantastic chip from close to the semi-circle to lob the scrambling Mannus while the Rovers keeper rushed back to his goal. It is a goal that will be shown time and time again in the future and one that viewers will not get tired of watching.
Rovers were back level eight minutes into the second-half when Grace got on the end of a Jack Byrne corner. It was poor defending from City, especially Corcoran who didn’t cover himself in glory with poor positioning.
City restored their lead when Kevin Custovic scored his first goal for the club with a composed finish inside the Rovers’ penalty area. Custovic's strike from close-range gave Mannus little chance.
Crowley got his second when he was in the perfect position to take advantage of some poor defending by Rovers from a Bargary cross. Although it was not as spectacular a goal as his first it was just as important.
City's two-goal advantage remained moments later thanks to a wonderful save from Corcoran and then the crossbar came to City’s rescue.
Simon Power halved the deficit between the sides with six minutes remaining before Hoare levelled the game with a header in injury time.
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Grace, Cleary, Nugent (Farrugia 46) ; Poom (Burke 57), O’Neill (Hoare 73), Watts (Towell 73), Byrne, Clarke; Kenny (Power 64), Gaffney.
Cork City: Corcoran; Walker (Custovic, 38), Gilchrist, Coleman, Honohan; Bargary, Bolger (Hakkinen 90), Crowley, Healy, Krezic (Varian 64); Keating.
Referee: R Harvey