Cork City remain top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division as they beat Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross on Monday night.
An expertly taken penalty from Kieran Sadlier moments before half time proved to be the difference between the sides and was enough to see City record their fourth win in five games at the beginning of this new season.
City made two changes to the side that was narrowly beaten 1-0 by Dundalk at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Barry McNamee and youngster Sean McLoughlin replaced Garry Buckley and Steven Beattie with the latter dropping out of the squad entirely.
Rovers made two changes to the side that demolished Derry City 6-1 last time out with Luke Byrne and Joe O’Brien taking the places of Ethan Boyle and Trevor Clarke.
Following a tight opening period, the visitors were first to threaten to break the deadlock after 17 minutes.
Following a mis-hit clearance from City’s Aaron Barry fell kindly to Daniel Carr, the defender quickly made amends to block the Rovers forwards goal-bound effort from close range.
Sean Kavanagh went close for Rovers midway through the first half but his powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area drifted narrowly wide of the far left post.
And the Champions would make Rovers pay for missing those opportunities as they took the lead after 37 minutes.
There was a big crowd at Turner's Cross for this game
After Kieran Sadlier’s cross from the right found the head of Graham Cummins, the striker, making his first home appearance since returning to the club over Christmas, was unfortunate to see his header hit the far post.
Cummins reacted quickest to the loose rebound and was brought down in the process by the on-rushing keeper Kevin Horgan, allowing Sadlier to fire the ball down the centre of the goal from the penalty spot to give City the lead at the break.
The duo combined effectively after the restart and Cummins ought to have notched his fifth league goal of the season but he could only slice the winger's cross wide of the near post from a few yards.
Rovers, who scored 12 goals in two games coming into this match, piled players forward in an attempt to salvage a point and they almost got it late on but Luke Byrne was unlucky to see his header from Graham Burke’s corner crash against the bar as City hung on for the win.
Next up for Cork City is Munster Derby in Limerick on Friday night while Shamrock Rovers will be looking to bounce back from this defeat when they take on St Pat’s in Tallaght on the same evening.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Conor McCarthy, Aaron Barry, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Gearoid Morrissey, Conor McCormack; Kieran Sadlier (Jimmy Keohane 85), Barry McNamee (Garry Buckley 77), Karl Sheppard; Graham Cummins.
Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan; Joe O’Brien (Joel Coustrain 71), Lee Grace, Ally Gilchrist (Robert Lopes 47), Luke Byrne; Sam Bone; Brandon Miele (Trevor Clarke 67), Ronan Finn, Graham Burke, Sean Kavanagh; Dan Carr.Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin).