McEneff strikes to earn battling point for Rovers
Cork City 1 Shamrock Rovers 1
Sub Aaron McEneff struck for an equaliser just before the hour-mark at Turner's Cross yesterday to extend Shamrock Rovers' unbeaten run in all competitions to seven games.
Having gone in trailing at half-time thanks to Dáire O'Connor's goal for Cork City, Rovers were much improved on the resumption, with McEneff and Dan Carr introduced by manager Stephen Bradley, and the changes had an immediate impact.
Aaron Greene drew two good saves from Mark McNulty and had another effort which was just wide while Lee Grace's header from a Jack Byrne corner was blocked on the line by Ronan Hurley.
The pressure remained though and when the next corner wasn't properly cleared, McEneff produced a fine curling effort from the edge of the area.
Going into the game eight points behind Dundalk with the same number played, Rovers pushed on for a winner but, bar a Dylan Watts effort, which was saved, and a late Greene effort off-target, they couldn't force sufficient chances.
The home side, on the back foot for much of the second period, struggled to get a second, though they felt they deserved a penalty when Mark O'Sullivan went down in the area on 69 minutes. In injury-time, sub Darragh Crowley had a chance but Alan Mannus saved.
It was a similar pattern of play in the first half, Rovers with more of the territory, though City were able to pose questions too. Watts and Gary O'Neill had half-chances for Rovers and, as he would later, Grace had a header blocked by Hurley while Conor McCarthy twice did well to deny Graham Cummins.
The opening goal came after a sloppy Joey O'Brien pass let Greg Bolger in trouble and Mark O'Sullivan and O'Connor combined to dispossess him, with the Hoops' appeals for a foul ignored. With a free run on goal, O'Connor did the rest, netting his first for Cork.
Rovers looked to respond and O'Brien's pass gave Bolger a long-range shot which was just wide while Byrne's free-kick flew over. In injury time, O'Brien made his way into the area but McCarthy blocked.
At the break, Bradley called for the cavalry and the changes brought about the desired effect, though City held out for a point.