League Report: Shamrock Rovers 4 - 4 Cork City

Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers’ search for their first win of the season goes on as Cork City came to Dublin 24 and left with a point after a dramatic action packed 4-4 draw.

Sean Hoare’s headed goal in the seventh minute of second half injury time gave the Hoops their third point of the league campaign and avoided back-to-back home league defeats having lost their 29 game unbeaten home record last week.

Rovers still sit in the relegation play-off position though having made their worst start since 2005 when they only had two points after four games – that was the season the club were relegated for the one and only time.

The Hoops had looked firmly in control of the first half after they led from Rory Gaffney until a four minute spell when first Ruairi Keating levelled and then Darragh Crowley caught out Alan Mannus with an incredible driven effort from 40 yards.

In naming his team, Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley continued with Gary O’Neill in the centre of Rovers’ back three as he had done for the last two games. However with Lee Grace and Daniel Cleary were back from suspension and they slotted in either side of the Kerryman.

They were two of four changes from Rovers’ defeat with Derry as Gaffney started in place of Graham Burke (who scored in the opening two games) with Darragh Nugent making his first Premier Division start for the Hoops.

Colin Healy’s men did create some early chances with former Rovers player Aaron Bolger and also Matt Healy shooting from distance but it Rory Gaffney, scoring his first of the season, who put the Hoops 1-0 up in the 14th minute.

City failed to deal with a Jack Byrne cross when they had time to do so. First O’Neill’s shot was saved by Corcoran and the keeper did well to stop Gaffney with the rebound. Those saves with his feet were to no avail though as Gaffney picked up the loose ball and showing quick feet moved centrally before slamming it home.

In the 34th minute the game was level as Ruairi Keating swept home the ball from inside the six yard box after Cian Bargary had drilled a low cross his way. The Leesiders were soon in the lead though as Crowley exploited brilliantly a clearance that came his way from Mannus who had come to the edge of his box to clear.

Trevor Clarke was causing City all sorts of difficulty down the left with repeated fouls on him seeing Gordon Walker going in the book. Dylan Watts whacked one of the resulting free kicks off the cross bar and Healy took Walker off moments before Crowley’s goal. He brought on Kevin Custovic and he went into referee Rob Harvey’s book for a foul on Clarke just three minutes after he made it onto the pitch.

Bradley brought on Neil Farrugia in place of Nugent at the break to give them more attacking option as they looked to get back into the game.

Jack Byrne took a couple of corners in the 53rd minute and from the second one the Hoops drew level. The stand in skipper Grace, making his 201st competitive appearance for Rovers, headed home Byrne’s centre.

Four minutes later City were back in the lead though thanks to substitute Custovic. He slotted home a right footed shot after the Hoops didn't deal with a looping Matt Healy free kick from wide right.

Mannus kept City at bay with a couple of critical saves in the 65th minute. First he touched Bargary’s curling shot around the post and from the resulting corner he dealt with a close range effort from City captain Cian Coleman with a strong left handed stop.

The vistors went 4-2 ahead in the 69th minute when the ball came to Crowley after Bargary’s cross wasn’t cleared effectively. A minute later Cleary’s header came back of the post as the Hoops began to lay siege to the City goal.

Sub Simon Power forced Corcoran into a save and then Farrugia’s low effort just flew by the City goal. Power halved the deficit six minutes from time from inside the six yard box as Byrne’s high cross came to him off Ethon Varian’s header. It was Power's first goal for the club.

A nasty head injury quietened the crowd late on as Bolger went down and it lead to a lengthy delay as the medical team dealt with the issue before he was stretchered off with Albin Winbo coming on in injury time.

In the 97th minute of the game Hoare headed home the equaliser in front of the South Stand. Incredibly Clarke went close in finding the winner as the clock ticked by 100 minutes but the game ended in a draw – one that everyone in the 4,028 crowd will remember for a very long time.

It leaves the Leesiders in sixth place a point above Rovers and ahead of Shelbourne and St Patrick's Athletic on goal difference.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Daniel Cleary, Gary O'Neill (Sean Hoare 72), Lee Grace ©; Darragh Nugent (Neil Farrugia h/t), Markus Poom (Graham Burke 56), Dylan Watts (Richie Towell 72), Trevor Clarke; Jack Byrne, Johnny Kenny (Simon Power 64), Rory Gaffney.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Sean Kavanagh, Sean Gannon, Liam Burt.
Booked: None.

Cork City: Jimmy Corcoran; Gordon Walker (Kevin Custovic 38 [Jonas Hakkinen 89]), Cian Coleman ©, Ally Gilchrist, Josh Honohan; Cian Bargary, Aaron Bolger (Albin Winbo (90+3), Darragh Crowley, Matt Healy, Daniel Krezic (Ethon Varian 63); Ruairi Keating.
Subs not used: Aaron Mannix, John O'Donovan, Joe O'Brien Whitmarsh, Tunde Owolabi, Cian Murphy.
Booked: Darragh Crowley (21), Gordon Walker (35), Kevin Custovic (41).

Referee: Rob Harvey.
Attendance: 4,028
extratime.com Player of the Match: Cian Bargary (Cork City)