Stat attack for the Cup

slideshow-v-cork-fai-cupShamrock Rovers face Cork City in the FAI Cup at Tallaght Stadium tonight. The draw was made on Monday Night Soccer on July 16th and this is one of two all-Premier Division ties. It is our third televised game in a row.

Unusually, because of Monaghan United’s exit from senior football, there were only 15 clubs in the third round. St. Pat’s Athletic were drawn out first and therefore received a bye – the last time a team did not have to play a game to qualify for the next round was 2006. Dublin City disbanded and Killester United had a walkover into the quarter-finals.

Rovers beat Limerick 1-0 at home in May to get here while Cork came from behind to defeat Athlone Town 6-1, with Vinny Sullivan and Tadhg Purcell scoring hat-tricks. Their record FAI Cup victory is a 9-0 win over Glenmore Dundrum at Turner’s Cross on July 26, 2002.

Both teams went out in the quarter-finals last year, Rovers to eventual winners Sligo and Cork lost to St. Pat’s. The Hoops are aiming to reach the QF in four successive seasons for the first time since six from 1982-1987. The last time Rovers played in the last eight of four different cup competitions in one campaign was 1983-84 – the FAI Cup, League of Ireland Shield, Dublin City Cup (won) and Leinster Senior Cup.

Rovers have lifted the trophy 24 times but the club have been waiting two and a half decades to do so again. Cork are two time winners, in 1998 and 2007, where Pat Sullivan was sent off for Longford Town in the final at the RDS. They were runners-up in 1989, 1992 and 2005.

Stephen Kenny’s Derry City lost to them in the 2005 semi-final but knocked out the holders on the way to the 2008 final. During his reign at Longford, his side won 2-1 at Turner’s Cross in a first round replay.

Cork signed Keigan Parker (Ayr United), Graham McCarthy (Avondale), Brian Lenihan (College Corinthians) and Keith Quinn (ex-Monaghan) in the summer. Shane O’Connor joined Shamrock Rovers, Tadhg Purcell’s loan deal with Northampton Town ended while Stephen Mulcahy went on loan to Waterford United.

Parker spent one of his six seasons at St. Johnstone with Michael O’Neill and scored 34 goals in 141 league appearances for Blackpool from 2004-08. The 30 year old striker made his debut in the 0-0 draw with Shelbourne last month as a 70th minute substitute, getting sent off after a tussle with Brian Shortall.

Both teams beat Drogheda in their last outing. Rovers won 2-0 at Hunky Dorys Park last Friday while Cork got back to winning ways after their two straight league defeats. They secured a 3-2 victory at home to Drogs on Monday, despite having goalkeeper Mark McNulty sent off.

Cork went 13 games unbeaten in all competitions from April-July, 12 in the league which was their best in the top flight since 14 from June-October 2006. They drew 7 times in 8 games at one point. Rovers are without a win in 6 games in all competitions against Cork in the last four years.

FAI Cup Winning Players

Rovers have 8 players in their squad with FAI Cup winners’ medals compared to Cork’s two. Ken Oman, Killian Brennan and Stephen O’Donnell played in Bohemians’ penalty shootout victory over Derry in 2008, with Brennan and O’Donnell both converting. At Derry, Oman and Brennan also won it in 2006 under Stephen Kenny.

gartland-grahamGraham Gartland lifted the cup in three consecutive years, with Longford Town in 2003 & 2004 and Drogheda United in 2005. Aaron Greene started in Sligo’s success last year but Conor Powell was an unused substitute. Gary O’Neill scored a last minute winner for Sporting Fingal as they came from behind to beat Sligo 2-1 at Tallaght Stadium in 2009.

Gary McCabe scored in Sligo’s penalty shootout win over Shamrock Rovers in the 2010 final, which had finished 0-0 in front 36,101 fans. Dan Murray and Colin Healy are the only survivors from Cork’s Cup win in 2007. American born Neal Horgan, who has spent over ten years with the club, helped them to the final but was suspended for the game.

Head to Head

In their second season of existence, Cork City were beaten 8-3 on aggregate over two legs in the 1986 semi-final, with Rovers going on to win the second of three consecutive doubles. At Milltown, Jack Charlton attended his first ever League of Ireland game and Liam O’Brien, one of the players who impressed him, gave Rovers the lead after a scoreless first half.

Paul Doolin lashed home a fierce left footer and ex-Hoop Anto Whelan pulled one back. Noel Larkin scored a brace in the last seven minutes of the game to make it 4-1, which remains Cork’s worst ever FAI Cup defeat.

This meant the second leg at Flower Lodge the following Sunday was a formality and indeed the Hoops scored after just 12 seconds. A six man move eventually saw O’Brien lob the ball into the goalmouth and when it came down to Mick Byrne, he made no mistake as he scored with a great right footed volley before a Cork player had even touched the ball.

O’Brien and Doolin gave Rovers a three goal advantage at half time and Paddy Hughes, another former Rovers player, found the net for the Leesiders before Whelan added another. O’Brien got his second of the game in the last minute, rounding goalkeeper Mulcahy and tapping it into an empty net.

In 1990, a second half comeback at Turner’s Cross forced a replay. John Caulfield put Cork in front early on but Rovers equalised when a 40 yard free kick from John Devine was headed in by Peter Eccles.

At Dalymount Park, Rovers were knocked out of the FAI Cup by a Cork side for the first time since Evergreen in 1953. Philip Long scored the only goal of this absorbing tie which saw Eccles sent off for a wild tackle on Patsy Freyne three minutes from time.

At the RDS in March 1995, Rovers won 3-1 with goals from Karl Gannon (2) and Derek McGrath; Gannon knew little about the opening goal as McGrath’s shot deflected off him and into the back of the net.

Tommy Dunne played for us in both games in the 1999/00 First Round. At Santry, Sean Francis put Rovers in front in the 5th minute but a familiar face brought the away side level. Liam O’Brien came off the bench in the 70th minute and within minutes of his first touch he scored with a 20 yard shot through a crowded area.

The Hoops crashed out in the replay at a wet and miserable Turner’s Cross three days later. Freyne and centre-back Derek Coughlan made it 2-0 at the interval but Rovers dragged themselves back into the game when Billy Woods coolly beat Harrington with a low shot.

Coughlan sealed the win for Cork after Tony O’Dowd had fumbled the ball. Rovers were “ineffectual, inept and indecisive” in the first half, “passionate, proud and powerful” in the second, said manager Damien Richardson.

Our last victory over Cork in the competition was at Turner’s Cross on December 16, 2001 – Rovers’ only ever FAI Cup game in that month in history. A ludicrous own goal by midfielder Alan Bennett decided it, lobbing his goalkeeper from 45 yards in the fifth minute.

Finally, Rovers lost 1-0 at Tolka Park four years ago with a second half volley from Denis Behan. The Hoops have played three other Cork clubs in the Cup since 1984. We beat Douglas Hall 2-0 in 2005, Cobh Ramblers 2-0 in 2002 and Corinthians 3-0 in 1993.

Apr 06, 1986 – Semi Final 1st Leg – Glenmalure Park – Shamrock Rovers 4-1 Cork City (O’Brien, Doolin, Larkin 2)

Apr 13, 1986 – Semi Final 2nd Leg – Flower Lodge – Cork City 2-4 Shamrock Rovers (M Byrne, O’Brien 2, Doolin)

Mar 25, 1990 – Second Round – Turner’s Cross – Cork City 1-1 Shamrock Rovers (Eccles)

Mar 29, 1990 – Replay – Dalymount Park – Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Cork City

Mar 12, 1995 – Second Round – RDS – Shamrock Rovers 3-1 Cork City (Gannon 2, McGrath)

Jan 09, 2000 – First Round – Morton Stadium – Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Cork City (Francis)

Jan 12, 2000 – Replay – Turner’s Cross – Cork City 3-1 Shamrock Rovers (Woods)

Dec 16, 2001 – Second Round – Turner’s Cross – Cork City 0-1 Shamrock Rovers (Bennett og)

Aug 15, 2008 – Second Round – Tolka Park – Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Cork City

Tommy Dunne

Dunne made his League of Ireland debut as a sub for Home Farm in their 3-0 win against Longford Town on November 25, 1990 at Whitehall. He made four league appearances for the club before joining Dundalk in February 1991. The full back made 26 apps over the next two seasons, scoring once, against Shelbourne in November 1992.

They are the club who signed him in 1993, where he scored 2 in 51 in total. He started in Shelbourne’s 2-1 FAI Cup Final defeat to Derry City in 1995 but didn’t play in their 1996 triumph. Dunne got two goals (both penalties) in 31 appearances for Derry City in the 1996/97 season as the northerners won the LOI title.

He lost in the FAI Cup Final again that season, his side getting beaten 2-0 by Shelbourne at Lansdowne Road. The Dubliner spent five years with the Hoops from 1997 – 2002. He made 97 (9) league appearances and scored once, in a 3-2 victory over Monaghan on November 4, 2001. His 40 yard free kick sailed over everyone to beat the goalkeeper and put Rovers two goals ahead.

Dunne made five European appearances in his career, three for Shelbourne and two for Rovers in the 1998 Intertoto Cup against Altay Spor. He played for Ireland in the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championships, making one appearance. He replaced Derek McGrath in the 73rd minute of a 2-2 draw with Argentina, on June 20th in Lisbon.

Dunne managed second division Finnish side TP Seinäjoki for three years before returning to Ireland in 2009, to take the assistant manager’s job at Cork City, with Paul Doolin. He was appointed Cork boss in February 2010 and they finished sixth in the First Division that season.

The 40 year old led the Rebels to the League Cup Final last year and promotion to the top flight, winning the title with a dramatic injury time winner at Tolka Park on the final day. His dad Theo was also a former Shamrock Rovers player and was assistant manager at Glenmalure Park from 1974-1976.

He captained Shelbourne to FAI Cup glory in 1960 and was manager of UCD in their shock win over Shamrock Rovers in the 1984 final.

On This Date

August 24th, 1983 was Jim McLaughlin’s first competitive game in charge of Shamrock Rovers, beating Hammond Lane 4-0 at Milltown in the Leinster Senior Cup. We have played one FAI Cup game on this date, a 1-0 defeat to Longford in a third round replay at Richmond Park. Shane Barrett headed in the winner from a corner with just four minutes remaining in extra-time.


New Signings #10 – Shane O’Connor

oconnor-shaneArriving on the last day of July, O’Connor has yet to make a competitive appearance for Shamrock Rovers. He played schoolboys football with local side Rockmount before joining the Liverpool academy in 2006. Able to play in defence or midfield, he spent three years at Anfield, seeing regular action for the U-18’s side in 2008-09.

He impressed Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane, his boyhood hero, during a pre-season trial. He signed for the Championship side on July 28, 2009, linking up with Colin Healy who had also joined from Cork City. O’Connor made his debut in the League Cup in August 2008, playing his first league game in a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on February 20, 2010.

He made 22 appearances in all competitions over three years. He had a run in the first team in the second half of the 2009-10 season but Mark Kennedy and Darren O’Dea occupied the left back slot for most of the following season.

Keane was sacked in January 2011 and O’Connor came on for Healy in the 3-0 League Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium later that month. However, that was the only 16 minutes he ever featured in under new boss Paul Jewell.

He joined League Two club Port Vale on loan in November but did not make a senior appearance. His contract with the Tractor Boys was terminated by mutual consent on January 20, 2012 and the 22 year old made a controversial parting shot at Jewell on Twitter.

On February 2, 2012, he joined Cork City, making just 5 league appearances before moving north to become one of Stephen Kenny’s newest signings. O’Connor played for Ireland U-17’s and U-19’s before making his U-21’s debut on March 26, 2011. He played in the first half of a 2-0 friendly defeat to Portugal in Agueda.


In EuroStats, Billy Dennehy was mistakenly shown to have equaled the all-time European appearances by a Rovers player. Johnny Fullam, in fact, holds this record and following the Ekranas game the list now looks like this:

Johnny Fullam – 19

Ronnie Nolan – 18

Frank O’Neill – 18

Billy Dennehy – 18

Pat Courtney – 17

Gary Twigg – 17



League Table

# Team M P
1 Dundalk 33 77
2 Cork City 33 70
3 Derry City 33 62
4 Shamrock Rovers 33 55
5 Sligo Rovers 33 49
6 Bray Wanderers 33 46
7 St. Patrick's Athletic 33 45
8 Bohemian FC 33 41
9 Galway United 33 38
10 Finn Harps 33 32
11 Wexford Youths 33 23
12 Longford Town 33 14

Club Sponsors & Official Partners  »

Official Website © Shamrock Rovers FC - All Rights Reserved - Shamrock Rovers FC Ltd.
Private Company Limited by Shares. Registered in Ireland. Reg No 245954.
Club Office: Tallaght Stadium, Whitestown Way, Tallaght, Dublin 24.
  Phone: (+353) 1 460 5948, Fax: (+353) 1 460 4875, Email: