Despite the dreadful weather and an exodus to Oxegen, Shelbourne edged past Cork City in front of 1170 at Turner’s Cross on Friday evening.
Dave McGill’s goal three minutes after half-time was the solitary difference, serving Cork their third home defeat on the bounce, while giving the Tolka Park men a huge boost.
Tommy Dunne’s charges will have been particularly disappointed by failing to threaten Dean Delany, especially when they went behind, and their lack of potent goalscorers, with the exception of Graham Cummins, meant it was hardly a surprise that once Shels went ahead there was no way back.
There was a distinct lack of urgency after falling behind and Shels were thoroughly deserved of the win. They showed a bigger hunger, and fought harder than their opponents and more performances like this will see them really push for promotion.
If only Cork could display the same passion and desire, they too would be up near the leaders. Shane Duggan was a solitary bright point for them, and time after time they really needed somebody else to help the midfielder creatively.
They simply must improve from this point onwards to keep this season alive and the only positive note is that with old stalwarts such as Billy Woods and Neal Horgan returning to the fold, they have the personnel to improve results.
In an even opening half, both sides had a decent share of the ball, although the home side had the better chances. Cummins went closest six minutes before the break with a powerful header which was well held by Delany.
Cork didn’t look wholly convincing at the back however, and if Shels’ target-finder was a little more fine tuned the Dubliners could have been ahead at the break. David Cassidy almost caught out Mark McNulty with an audacious chip which just narrowly missed the target in the eighth minute, as the City goalkeeper scrambled nervously back towards his goal.
The Ballincollig man was almost found wanting again on 32 minutes, when Adelberto Pinto played to Dinny Corcoran, but the striker’s effort struck the side netting with the ‘keeper beaten again.
Other than that, chances were few and far between from Shels’ point of view but they kept Cork quiet for much of the half. Greg O’Halloran and Stephen Mulcahy missed the target, while Eoghan Lougheed also rifled over but clear-cut opportunities were as rare as the sun on Leeside in a dreary evening.
The deadlock was broken three minutes after the interval as a quick one-two which saw McGill and Corcoran combine ended in the former drilling the ball into the bottom corner of the net to give Shels a deserved lead.
The onus was on Cork to really put some men forward and Shane Duggan’s through ball was collected by Cummins but yet again he missed the target on 54 minutes.
The introduction of Billy Woods, back to the league after a spell with Midleton in the MSL, immediately sparked a bit of life into the home team and his 61st minute shot deflected narrowly over.
As the match wore on, Cork just couldn’t break down the Shels rearguard and Brian Farell went very close to doubling the advantage when he forced McNulty into a decent stop, the forward’s deft flick palmed away at the bottom corner.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Stephen Mulcahy, Greg O’Halloran, John Meade; Davin O’Neill (Mark O’Sullivan, 78), Gearoid Morrissey (Gareth Cambridge, 58), Shane Duggan, Cillian Lordan, Eoghan Lougheed (Billy Woods, 58); Graham Cummins. Subs not used: Jonas Piechnik, Gavin Kavanagh.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Mick Clarke, Ian Ryan, Michael Coburn, Sean Burke; Dave McGill, David Cassidy, Ray Scully, Adelberto Pinto; Dinny Corcoran, Brian Farrell (Marwan Azim, 90). Subs not used: Stephen Quigley, Gareth Whelan, Jack Flynn, Stephen Williams.