MATCH REPORT: Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Shelbourne
Shamrock Rovers returned to winning ways on Friday night, with a comfortable 2-0 win over Shelbourne in Tallaght Stadium.
With Shelbourne coming into this latest Dublin Derby on the back of four consecutive league wins, the pressure was on Stephen Bradley's side to make amends following the Hoops' disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Drogheda United on Monday evening. And with just 66 seconds on the clock, Brendan Clarke was already kicking the ball out of the Shelbourne net.
After an early Shelbourne free-kick was headed away from the Shamrock Rovers box, the home side quickly progressed up the right-hand side of the field, before Rory Gaffney's low-driven cross was dummied by Dylan Watts, and fell to Richie Towell who slotted home his first of the season to send Tallaght Stadium into ruptures. A quite fitting first goalscorer, with Richie getting married in the coming days abroad.
The home side continued to put Damien Duff's side under pressure after the early opener, with Graham Burke attempting to lob Brendan Clarke from the half-way line minutes after Towell's goal, but Burke's effort flew just over Clarke's crossbar.
Rovers dangerous final-third play was rewarded in the 32nd minute, when Rory Gaffney turned from provider to goalscorer, finishing beyond Clarke after good play by Andy Lyons down the Rovers left-flank.
Shelbourne failed to trouble Alan Mannus in the Rovers goal throughout the opening 45, and could've found themselves even further behind in the opening minutes of the second-half, when Gaffney & Watts both had efforts blocked by the visiting defence inside the Shelbourne penalty area.
The second-half was a much quieter affair compared to the first, with the next real opportunity not coming until the 84th minute. Substitute Neil Farrugia raced beyond the Shelbourne defence, before firing across to Aaron Greene on the penalty spot, who missed the completely mis-hit the ball before Shels eventually ended the danger.
The win sees Rovers grow their lead at the crown of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table to eight points over now second-placed Dundalk, whilst Shelbourne remain in sixth-place, as we enter into the mid-season break.
Shamrock Rovers' next league game isn't until June 17th away to Dundalk, after today's announcement that the Hoops' away game to St. Patrick's Athletic on June 10th has been postponed due to International call-ups to both sides. Shelbourne's welcome Derry City to Tolka Park on June 10th in their next league game after the mid-season break.
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Hoare, Lopes, Kavanagh; Finn (C) (60' Farrugia), O'Neill, Towell, Lyons (60' Grace); Watts (60' McCann), Gaffney (60' Greene), Burke.
Shelbourne: Clarke; O'Driscoll, Byrne (C), Griffin; Farrell, Lunney, Dervin (66' Molloy), Hakiki (59' Ledwidge), Kane; Moylan (59' Wilson), Boyd.
*Photo credit: Pat Kehoe/SRFC Media Team*