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Byrne lays the platform for comfortable Shamrock Rovers win over Cork City

The Hoops now turn their attentions to the FAI Cup final after seeing off the Leesiders tonight.

Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers (file pic).
Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 3
Cork City 0

Andrew Dempsey reports from Tallaght Stadium 

SHAMROCK ROVERS SET themselves up nicely for next weekend’s FAI Cup final with a comfortable home win over Cork City this evening.

Goals from both Jack Byrne and Lee Grace put the Hoops on their way in the first-half before Graham Burke struck in the second period with a free-kick.

Making seven changes from their comfortable win over UCD last time out, Rovers saw Irish international Byrne return to the starting XI, after he missed out through suspension last week in Belfield.

Neale Fenn’s resurgent Cork City, on the other hand, opted for three alterations, with Shamrock Rovers loanee Joel Coustrain starting to face his parent club.

After a good start to the game, Rovers took the lead thanks to a moment of magic from Byrne. The former Manchester City trainee picked up a stray pass by Conor McCarthy before arrowing his effort into the top corner.

The Leesiders’ task got even more bleak before the half-hour mark, as defender Lee Grace doubled the Hoops’ lead with a fine header from just outside the six-yard box, getting on the end of Byrne’s sumptuous delivery.

Graham Burke almost made it three before the break, but his effort cannoned off the post before City went close to halving the deficit through Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh, who sent his effort narrowly wide at the near post.

A low-key second half followed, before it was jolted into life when Burke made it 3-0 with just under a quarter of an hour to play. The Preston North End loanee whipped in his free-kick to beat Tadhg Ryan at his near post, as the curtain came down on a fine league campaign for the hosts.

Neale Fenn left will have plenty to do to revitalise the Rebel Army over the off-season.


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SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Sean Kavanagh (Neil Farrugia, HT); Gary O’Neill (Brandon Kavanagh, 66), Aaron McEneff (Greg Bolger, HT); Jack Byrne, Ronan Finn, Graham Burke; Aaron Greene.

CORK CITY: Tadhg Ryan; Colm Horgan, Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Ronan Hurley; Garry Buckley (Dale Holland, HT), Alec Byrne, Joel Coustrain (Ricardo Dinanga, 59), Daire O’Connor; Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh, Eoghan Stokes (Rory Doyle, 87).

Referee: Damien MacGraith. 

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