A flurry of late action dragged this clash of the fallen giants out of mediocrity at Tolka Park. For all of 75 minutes there was little goalmouth action to speak of before a Graham Cummins goal for Cork ignited a fiery late period. Referee Derek Tomney was at the centre of attention for the final few minutes as he turned down not one but three legitimate Shelbourne penalty claims after sub Dinny Corcoran had equalised for the home side.
Cork started much the brighter in a first half that struggled to get off the ground. After only two minutes Davin O’Neill found space after a neat flick from Greg O’Halloran, but his shot was straight at Shels’ keeper Dean Delaney.
It was a full twenty minutes before the next shot in anger was seen, with Shels’ Mark Leech failing to trouble Mark McNulty with a swivelling effort. The rest of the first half petered out with little to shout about for the thousand strong crowd. Cork were the more dominant in possession, with Shels’ strike partnership of Marc Hughes and Mark Leech consistently isolated as the home side’s midfield struggled to get a grip on things. Davin O’Neill was a constant threat along Cork’s right hand side but both sides seemed to cancel each other out as half time arrived.
There was a purpose about Shels as they seized control of possession after the break. Cork’s defence were restricting them to long-range efforts however, and McNulty was equal to strikes from Shels’ two on-loan Bohemians youngsters Sean Byrne and Marc Hughes.
Referee Derek Tomney took centre stage as the game drew into the final 20 minutes. Cork legend Greg O’Halloran seemed to impede Shels sub Dinny Corcoran in the area but Tomney took no action. Almost immediately, Cork broke and gave the game the goal it badly needed. The excellent O’Neill broke down the right before a neat one two with Ian Turner gave Shane Duggan a clear strike from twelve yards. Duggan’s effort cannoned off Delaney and Graham Cummins was on hand to smash home from close range to the delight of the sizeable travelling support.
Shelbourne were stung into action by that goal and they dominated the final 15 minutes. They forced a series of corners and free kicks before a deserved equaliser on 82 minutes. Another set piece was only half-cleared by Cork, and Sean Byrne’s 25 yard shot was too hot to handle for keeper McNulty. He spilled the shot right into the path of sub Dinny Corcoran, who side-footed high into the net for the equaliser.
Shels went all out for a victory, and should certainly have had a penalty on 85 minutes when Dave Rogers clearly blocked off Marc Hughes in the box. Tomney then also turned down a handball shout from the home side against Stephen Mulcahy, much to the disgust of the Shelbourne faithful. That disgust boiled over at the end of the game, when the referee seemed to be struck by an object as he left the field. A point apiece was probably a fair result for these two former heavyweights, but neither manager will be happy as they both failed to fully capitalise on Waterford United’s slip-up.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Ray Scully, Gareth Whelan, Paul Shiels, Stephen Quigley (Sean Byrne, 35), David McGill (Dinny Corcoran, 52), Ian Ryan, David Cassidy, Eric Foley, Marc Hughes, Mark Leech (Philip Gorman, 66). Subs not used: Darren Forsyth, Steve Williams
Cork City Foras Co-op: Mark McNulty, Ian Turner, Greg O’Halloran, Cillian Lordan, Dave Rogers, Stephen Mulcahy, Davin O’Neill, Cathal Lordan, Vros Hojan, Graham Cummins, Shane Duggan. Subs not used: Paul Deasy, Michael Devine, Eoin Forde, Willie Heffernan, Rory Morrissey.
Referee: Derek Tomney
Extratime Man Of The Match: Davin O’Neill
Kevin Fagan is Chief Match Reporter for bohemianfc.com and has worked for Extratime since 2010. He is a long suffering Bohs fan and has seen the club win, and lose it all. He has an MA in Journalism from Independent Colleges, and has also contributed to Campus.ie and the Evening Herald. Contact / hurl abuse at him on Twitter via <a href="https://twitter.com/Kev_Fagan89">@Kev_Fagan89</a>