Like Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers warmed up for Sunday week's FAI Cup final with a bloodless home win on a chilly evening.

Jack Byrne, Lee Grace and Graham Burke netted for the Hoops in a 3-0 win to end their best league campaign in several years, while Cork City will take some positives despite getting battered on the night.

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley will be thrilled with the influence of Neil Farrugia in the second half. His pace is something the Hoops lack and he will now be pressing hard to start at Lansdowne Road.

Cork are blooding young players and there was enough here to suggest things can improve next year after a dire 2019.


It was all Rovers early on and Burke angled a shot from around 25 yards towards the top corner, but Cork stopper Tadhg Ryan was quite comfortable in parrying for a corner.

Cork were playing football in pretty much all areas as new boss Neale Fenn attempts to bring about a change in their philosophy.

It was good to watch, but Conor McCarthy gave the ball away most uncharacteristically on 17 minutes, with Rovers' Sean Kavanagh intercepting. The PFAI left-back of the year played it to another member of the team of the year, Byrne, who blasted into the corner of the net with Ryan rooted to the turf.

And again it was a combination of two PFAI players of the year that made it 2-0 on 26 minutes. Byrne's corner-kick was met by Grace and Ryan could only get a hand on it as it powered over the line in front of the home fans, whetting their hunger for the FAI Cup final.

Cork had a splendid chance to get one back shortly afterwards but Roberto Lopes made a superb block on Beineon O'Brien-Whitmarsh after neat play from the visitors.

Rovers were within inches of a stunning third. Byrne found Aaron McEneff who spun the ball wide to Kavanagh, his drilled cross was met by Burke, and the latter's drilled drive struck foot of the post just before half-time.

City continued to look dangerous, however, and O'Brien-Whitmarsh hooked a shot narrowly wide from Colm Horgan's cross.

Farrugia came on at the interval for Rovers and showed the pace and intent that may be key against Dundalk.

He was taken down unceremoniously outside the box by McCarthy six minutes after the restart. Byrne's free-kick was met by a good save from Ryan.

Again Farrugia ran at Rovers, setting up Greene; again Ryan saved.

The former Galway United stopper has made a good impression since replacing Mark McNulty in the City nets and once more he got down to parry a Burke drive, producing an even better stop moments later from Greene.

Mannus, the PFAI keeper of the year, got down sharply to deny Eoghan Stokes with 20 minutes left as Cork kept at it.

Burke put the game beyond any doubt when making it 3-0 from a free-kick on 74 minutes. Perhaps Ryan will have felt he could have done better, but he now looks likely to make a big impact going forward on Leeside.

For Rovers, the success or otherwise of this season now hinges on seeking a first Cup win since 1987. 

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; O'Brien, Lopes, Grace; Finn, O'Neill (B Kavanagh 66), McEneff (Bolger 46), Byrne, Burke, S Kavanagh (Farrugia 46); Greene.

Cork City: Ryan; Horgan, McCarthy, Casey, Hurley; Stokes (Doyle 87), Buckley (Holland 46), Byrne, Coustrain (Dinanga 59), O'Connor; O'Brien Whitmarsh.