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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Shamrock Rovers and Cork City couldn't be separated tonight in Tallaght

No goals but an intriguing Premier Division contest.

Darren Dennehy and Paddy Cregg collide.
Darren Dennehy and Paddy Cregg collide.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 0

Cork City 0

Paul Dollery reports from Tallaght Stadium

THERE WERE NO goals between Shamrock Rovers and Cork City in tonight’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division encounter at Tallaght Stadium.

After two wins from their opening two games, it was a third consecutive clean sheet for Rovers but they had to settle for a share of the spoils on this occasion, despite being the better side on the night.

Cork, with a win and a draw under their belts coming into tonight’s game, also maintained their unbeaten start. Although they occasionally threatened on the counter attack, last season’s runners-up will be satisfied with their point.

Rovers made four changes from last weekend’s win away to Longford Town, with the loss of injured striker Danny North a significant blow to Pat Fenlon’s side. The City team, meanwhile, showed one alteration from their home hammering of Limerick, as Kieran Djilali came in to replace Danny Morrissey.

Chances were scarce early on but it was City who were eventually the first to threaten, when left-back Ross Gaynor played a hopeful pass up the wing in the 19th minute.

The ball found its way to City’s Karl Sheppard after Rovers defender David Webster appeared to lose his footing, but with nobody supporting the visitors’ lone striker, he could only shoot across the face of goal from a narrow angle as the Hoops breathed a sigh of relief.

City had another good chance in the 28th minute. When John Dunleavy cut the ball back from the right wing, Garry Buckley really should have done better instead of firing his half-volley harmlessly wide from just inside the box.

Rovers then had the game’s first effort on target, as a Mikey Drennan effort was comfortably saved by Mark McNulty. And Paddy Cregg was inches away from a spectacular opener on the half-hour mark, but he saw his sweet strike from 20 yards out sail narrowly wide of the top-corner.

Michael Drennan reacts to a missed chance Mikey Drennan reacts after his header hit the crossbar. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

However, the closest this game came to a first-half goal was on the stroke of the half-time whistle. After City’s Ross Gaynor was dispossessed by Gavin Brennan, the ball found its way to Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters on the left wing via Cregg.

Waters picked out Drennan with an inch-perfect cross but the former Aston Villa striker’s powerful header came back off the crossbar. It was a major let-off for John Caulfield’s side following Gaynor’s error, and it kept the game scoreless at the interval.

Gary McCabe went close for Rovers with just over five minutes of the second-half played when he had a shot deflected wide after good work from Waters to beat two defenders.

City made what looked like a positive substitution in the 65th minute, with striker Mark O’Sullivan replacing ineffective winger Kieran Djilali. But John Caulfield stuck with just one up front, as Sheppard dropped back into a deeper role.

But the home side just about remained in the ascendancy; at least in terms of possession, if not on the scoreboard. Drennan had another headed effort from a 74th-minute Simon Madden cross, and while it was close, it didn’t trouble City goalkeeper McNulty.

A defensive mix-up between Dave O’Connor and Conor Kenna almost allowed Sheppard in for a goal against his former club in the 82nd minute but the ex-Reading striker was unable to capitalise.

It was to be the last sniff of a goal in a game that Rovers had the better of, leaving City the happier of the two sides as they made their way back down south.

Billy Dennehy and David OÕConnor City's Billy Dennehy is tackled by Rovers defender Dave O'Connor. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Craig Hyland; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, David Webster, David O’Connor; Keith Fahey (Stephen McPhail, 72), Gary McCabe, Paddy Cregg; Gavin Brennan, Mikey Drennan (Gareth McCaffrey, 84), Kieran Waters (Sean O’Connor, 72).

CORK CITY: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy, Alan Bennett, Darren Dennehy, Ross Gaynor; Colin Healy; Kieran Djilali (Mark O’Sullivan, 65); Liam Miller, Garry Buckley (Gavan Holohan, 75), Billy Dennehy (Danny Morrissey, 80); Karl Sheppard.

Man-of-the-Match: Alan Bennett.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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