Cork City 0 - 0 ShelbourneFri, Jul 27 2012
Turner’s Cross has been a place of real entertainment so far this season, with 27 goals in eight league games, but last night, with arch-rivals Shelbourne in town, the fervent Cork support were forced to endure their first scoreless draw of the season.
After a hectic week which saw them earn a draw against Sligo Rovers last Sunday before two friendlies on consecutive nights against Watford and Manchester United, City showed two changes from their last league game – defensive duo Kevin and Dan Murray coming in for Gavin Kavanagh and Kalen Spillane.
And even though they earned a coveted clean-sheet it was an evening that was terribly frustrating as they picked up their seventh draw from the last nine games and a ninth in total this season.
Shels, on the other hand, were looking to recover from their last gasp concession to Drogheda United last week and also sought revenge following Cork’s recent exploits against them – the Leesiders denied the Reds a First Division title with a 94th minute goal in the last minute of last season and also earned three points when the teams met in Tolka Park earlier this year thanks to an 83rd minute strike from Vinny Sullivan.
It was the away team that had the first clearcut chance on 13 as Philly Hughes headed narrowly wide at the back-post after Conan Byrne’s cross from the right was worked to the striker.
Cork’s initial opportunity arrived on 21 minutes when Danny Murphy’s ball to Daryl Horgan ended with the ever-impressive winger crossing to Ian Turner at the back-post, though the winger was only able to direct his header over the bar.
Turner came close again six minutes later after a nice through ball from Davin O’Neill, while the former Cobh-attacker had a go himself shortly after the half hour mark, hitting the side netting from an awkward position.
The home team were really turning up the pressure gauge as Horgan hit the side-netting and O’Neill struck wide either side of a half-attempt from Shels’ Philly Gorman which curled over the bar after a neat dummy from Barry Clancy but it surprisingly remained scoreless at the interval.
Cork keeper Mark McNulty had a relatively quiet first half but he needed to be at his most attentive at the beginning of the second half when touching a Lorcan Fitzgerald free-kick from 25 yards over the bar. Yet Cork wasted another glorious chance at breaking the deadlock when Daryl Horgan played to Shane Duggan and the midfielder struck wide from eight yards under little pressure.
Most of the crowd cheered when the net rattled, thinking it had gone in, but those cheers soon turned to groans when they realised that the strike was wide of the mark. O’Neill and Danny Murphy had efforts blocked down as City continued to dominate but there was still, worryingly for the home side, no sign of a goal.
Shels grew in confidence from the hour mark onwards, Stephen Hurley shooting inches wide after latching onto a slack ball out of defence from McNulty to the feet of the unsuspecting John Dunleavy in the 68th minute.
Hurley then headed just over from a Byrne cross four minutes after but Cork were awarded another wonderful opportunity when new boy Keigan Parker, on as a sub for Vinny Sullivan, flashed over after a hesitant move inside the box.
Kevin Dawson snatched one over for Shels entering the final five minutes but there was the be a further moment of drama as Parker received a red for what referee Padraig Sutton perceived to be an elbow on Brian Shortall and Cork held on in the final few minutes of a game that they should have put to bed by half-time, defending for a point.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colin Healy, Dan Murray, Kevin Murray, Danny Murphy; Ian Turner (Stephen Kenny 90+1), Shane Duggan, John Dunleavy, Daryl Horgan; Davin O’Neill (Andy O’Connell 90+2), Vinny Sullivan (Keigan Parker 70).
Subs not used: David Browne, Kalen Spillane, Gavin Kavanagh, Garry Buckley.
Sent Off: Parker (84).
Shelbourne: Chris Bennion; Lorcan Fitzgerald, Brian Shortall, Andrew Boyle, Sean Byrne; Conan Byrne (Anto Murphy 90+2), Stephen Hurley, Kevin Dawson, Barry Clancy; Philip Gorman, Philip Hughes (Paddy Kavanagh 65).
Subs not used: Dean Delany, David Cassidy, Paul Byrne, Brendan McGill, Ian Ryan.
Bookings: Fitzgerald (52).
Referee: Padraig Sutton (Clare).
Official attendance: 2,689.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Kevin Murray (Cork City).
Alan Smith has been writing for ExtraTime since 2008. He works as a full-time journalist based in Cork, working as a sub-editor for TCM and freelancing for a range of national titles. Follow him on twitter @alansmith90.