Bohemians 1-3 Shamrock Rovers
IF SHAMROCK ROVERS are to turn things around this season, a win at the home of fierce rivals Bohemians is as good a place as any to start.
Goals from Gary McCabe, Ronan Finn and Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters ensured that the bragging rights — and the unbeaten record — go home with the Hoops after the first Dublin derby between the sides.
Trevor Croly’s side just took one point from six in Dalymount Park last season, although that was a far sight better than the 4-0 humiliation suffered here during Stephen Kenny’s short reign.
This time it was Bohs who left empty-handed although they will reflect on a game in which they enjoyed plenty of chances.
The fixture carried its usual edge, the home fans setting the tone from the stands early on as they reminded Rovers left-full Luke Byrne that those who cross the divide are rarely forgiven, if ever.
A hail of boos greeted Byrne’s every touch and if the youngster was intimidated, Owen Heary looked to take full advantage. Bohs’ best attacks came down that side with Steven Beattie a constant menace in the first half and Craig Walsh never far behind.
Croly stuck with the same team and tactics that won in Athlone last weekend and Ciaran Kilduff was again tasked with leading the visitors’ attack. His brief seemed clear: battle for possession and bring Simon Madden and Gary McCabe into the game.
Both proved key to Rovers’ victory, Madden playing a crucial role in Rovers’ second and third while McCabe made and scored the opener from the penalty spot just after the quarter-hour mark. Former team-mate Jack Memery brought him down inside the box and he nervelessly dispatched the ball past Dean Delany.
It was the hosts who had the better chances for the rest of the first half. Dinny Corcoran did have the ball in the net in the 30th minute but as he wheeled away to celebrate, the flag went up for offside.
Beattie and Walsh combined again a couple of moments later to set up Paddy Kavanagh and after Ryan Brennan slid in to block his shot, Kevin Devaney’s follow-up cannoned off the bar.
But for all of Bohs’ half-chances, it was Rovers who should have doubled their lead just before the break. Kilduff rose highest to head back across goal but by the time Brennan slid in at the back post, the chance had drifted by.
Bohs looked to veteran striker Jason Byrne for inspiration after the break and the 36-year-old very nearly had an instant impact. He forced Barry Murphy into a good save from a one-on-one before Conor Kenna cleared his second attempt behind.
The Rovers skipper wasn’t so lucky in the 63rd minute when he turned Derek Pender’s cross into the roof of his own net to give Bohs the equaliser they deserved.
But as the game broke down in the final quarter, it was Rovers who took advantage. They took the lead in the 73rd minute when Madden’s cross from the right was returned across goal by Kilduff and Finn stooped to head in.
Three minutes later the points were secure. Waters was only on the pitch a few moments when Madden countered down the same side, picking out a pinpoint cross for the former Bray man to power past Delany.
BOHEMIANS: Delany, Memery (Moore 78), Pender (c), Price, Lopes, Kavanagh, Devaney (Byrne 55), Walsh (Traynor 75), McEvoy, Beattie, Corcoran.
Substitutes: Murphy, Moore, Traynor, J Byrne, D Byrne, Buckley, McCabe.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Murphy, Madden, Kenna (c), McGuinness, Byrne, McCabe, Brennan (Bayly 78), Robinson, Finn, O’Connor (Waters 75), Kilduff.
Substitutes: Hyland, Cornwall, Sheppard, Waters, Bayly, Zayed, Kelly.
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
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