March 17, 2012
A 94th minute header from Gary Twigg secured a point for 10 man Shamrock Rovers as they held Cork City to a 1-1 draw at Turner’s Cross. Cork had previously taken the lead through a Gavin Kavanagh strike on 62 minutes, but the Leesiders were unable to hold out for their first win of the Premier Division campaign.
Both teams lined out like-for-like, in 4-4-2 formations. The first half was rather uneventful. Shamrock Rovers enjoyed large spells of possession without with causing Cork City’s defence any notable problems.
Towards the end of the first half it was Cork City who came close to taking the lead as Craig Sives almost put the ball into his own net, but Oscar Jansson was equal to the header. Moments later, City came close again, as Shane O’Connor’s excellent left-footed strike from the left-hand side of the penalty area flew just wide of Oscar Jansson’s left post.
In the second half the tempo of the game increased dramatically. Cork were much more positive in this half and didn’t defend as deeply as they had done in the first. Daryl Horgan and Shane O’Connor were particularly threatening for the home side, who took the lead on 62 minutes.
Stephen Rice’s pass out of defence was intercepted near the halfway line by Gavin Kavanagh. The defender steadied himself before trying his luck from more than 30 yards. His strike was firm and on target, but it was the awkward bounce that allowed it to evade the grasp of Jansson in the Shamrock Rovers goal.
Things went from bad to worse for Rovers on 78 minutes as Conor Powell was shown a straight red cardfor a dangerous tackle on Gearoid Morrissey.
In spite of being reduced to 10 men, it was Rovers who dominated the closing stages, proceeding with three at the back as they ventured in search of an equaliser. On 87 minutes, Chris Turner’s lobbed effort flew just wide of Mark McNulty goals as the Cork keeper was caught in no man’s land, having only half cleared a Billy Dennehy cross.
On the 90 minute mark, Dennehy was next to threaten. The midfielder cut inside on the right hand side of the penalty area before shooting just wide of McNulty’s right-hand post.
On 94 minutes, Rovers drew level. Dennehy’s corner was cleared back from where it came, giving the Cork-native a second opportunity to cross. With this attempt he found Ken Oman at the back post. Oman, who had been a colossus in the air all night headed back across goal where Gary Twigg was on hand to head home from six yards.
Throughout the game, SC1 Sports analysed the performances of Vinny Sullivan and Ronan Finn.
Ronan Finn played in central midfield alongside Stephen Rice. Whilst Rice sat deep in a holding role, Finn was given the freedom to make forward runs. It was often the case that at the beginning of attacks Finn would be available to receive the ball from the full-backs before surging forward as the move progressed. In essence, he was operating as a box-to-box midfielder.
One thing about Finn’s performance that was unquestionable was his work rate, as he toiled impressively throughout. In spite of this, Finn was unable to find the space to regularly pick up possession in advanced areas, meaning that many of his forward runs were ineffective. In fact, many of the occasions that Finn was in possession in the final third came as a result of his own dribbles, rather than from being found in space by his team mates. Having said that, Cork were compact and defended deep, meaning that space was at a premium.
Finn’s dribbling ability was perhaps the most impressive aspect of his performance as he was able to maintain a 100% dribble success rate throughout the match. Finn showed himself to be extremely comfortable in possession and never took too much out of the ball.
The highlights of his first half performance came on 36 minutes when he was involved in a sustained period of Shamrock Rovers pressure at the edge of Cork’s penalty area. Fundamentally, Rovers didn’t create anything from this opportunity however Finn showed himself to be able to pass and dribble comfortably consistently in tight areas. This aspect showed his quality as a player more than any particular creative edge that he brought to this particular game.
On 40 minutes, he was able to knock the ball into the path of Twigg at the edge of the Cork City penalty area, before Twigg knocked the ball wide to Dennehy, whose cross found Gilbert in the box. Unfortunately for Rovers, the right-back headed harmlessly wide of the target.
Finn’s performance levels continued at a similar level throughout the second half. His passing was steady and consistent without being spectacular. However, Shamrock Rovers appeared to be quite static in the final third, making life difficult for their midfielders to shine with moments of creativity.
Finn will probably be disappointed that he didn’t have more of a definitive effect on the game, however Stephen Kenny has tasked the midfielder with a new role in which he will no doubt improve as the season progresses.
Throughout the game, Sullivan played in his usual position up front, alongside Davin O’Neill (and later Tadgh Purcell).
Throughout the first half, Sullivan normally found himself in his own half as Cork City had bodies behind the ball at all times. The opening stages of the game were all about maintaining shape for Cork City and Sullivan and O’Neill rarely looked to commit themselves to putting pressure on Oman, Sives or Rice who regularly took up possession in these deep-lying areas.
Sullivan had an extremely quiet game tonight, but a number of trends were noticeable from his performance.
Cork attempted to play the ball in the air to him continuously but throughout the game his team mates found him with an aerial pass on only four occasions. This was particularly down to the aerial prowess of Ken Oman, who had a very solid game at the centre of Cork’s defence.
Davin O’Neill saw a lot more of the ball in the first half as he dropped off frequently and made runs into channels to get involved in Cork’s build-up play. By contrast, Sullivan operated at the tip of Cork’s attack. Unfortunately, very few attacks developed sufficiently so as to include Sullivan, meaning that he was isolated throughout.
In the second half, Sullivan dropped off a lot more, and received the ball to his feet on a number of occasions. Nevertheless, it must have been a frustrating evening for Sullivan, who touched the ball on 16 occasions and failed to have a single shot throughout.
Sullivan’s finest moment of the game came on 91 minutes. The striker gained possession in his own half before playing a splendid pass to the right wing where he found Gearoid Morrissey. As Morrissey proceeded to the by-line with the ball, Cork were able to waste a significant amount of the four minutes of injury time in the Shamrock Rovers half. It looked like City would hold on to take all three points, but they conceded right at the death.League of Ireland, Performance Analysis. Bookmark the permalink. ← Merseyside Derby: Liverpool’s Tendencies Linfield Analysis: Carvill and Lowry (Setanta Post Part 1) →