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Shaw strike sees Rovers bounce back from Europa League exit with big win in Waterford

A second-half strike from Gary Shaw saw Shamrock Rovers defeat Waterford at the RSC on Sunday.

Gary Shaw celebrates giving his side the lead at the RSC.
Gary Shaw celebrates giving his side the lead at the RSC.
Image: Stephen McCarthy

Waterford FC 0

Shamrock Rovers 1

Brendan White reports from the RSC

SHAMROCK ROVERS MADE a winning return to league action with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Waterford in the RSC on Sunday.

Gary Shaw’s second-half strike ensured there was no European hangover for Stephen Bradley’s side who close the gap between the sides to four points.

Rovers should have taken the lead inside three minutes. Ronan Finn’s free kick bounced around in the penalty area before dropping to defender Roberto Lopes.

The centre half, a late change in the Rovers starting 11, somehow fired wide from just six yards.

Waterford v Shamrock Rovers - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Source: Stephen McCarthy

Waterford had big appeals for penalty turned down after 21 minutes. Striker Courtney Duffus beat three defenders on the endline before charging at goal and going down under the challenge of Roberto Lopes.

Referee Robert Harvey was close to the action but awarded a goal kick.

The visitors looked most likely to break the deadlock and should have taken the lead ten minutes before the break.

Waterford’s Stanley Aborah failed to clear on the edge of the penalty area and Dylan Watts picked up the ball.

His powerful strike forced Waterford keeper Matthew Connor into a save before Ronan Finn’s follow-up forced Connor into a better second save to keep the game scoreless.

Courtney Duffus could have given Waterford the lead right on the stroke of half time. Aborah’s free kick found Feely at the back post and he headed across the penalty box. Courtney Duffus picked up the ball forced Rovers’ Alan Mannus into a good save.

The visitors started well in the second period but it was Alan Reynolds’ side who almost scored. Holohan flicked to Duffus who laid the ball off to Hery; and his powerful drive forced Mannus into an excellent save.

Waterford v Shamrock Rovers - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Source: Stephen McCarthy

The Rovers keeper was again called into action with two brilliant saves midway through the second half. First, he kept out the low strike of Holohan before somehow keeping out Akinade’s follow up strike.

Three minutes later, Rovers were rewarded for those saves. Substitutes Sam Bone and Gary Shaw linked up for Shaw to head beyond Blues keeper Connor.

Waterford pressed for an equaliser and Izzy Akinade struck the woodwork, before minutes later he couldn’t get enough contact to Dessie Hutchinson’s inviting cross as Rovers held on for the three points.

Waterford FC: Matthew Connor; Rory Feely, Kenny Browne, David Webster, Dylan Barnett; Paul Keegan, Gavan Holohan (Dessie Hutchinson 82), Bastien Hery, Stanley Aborah (Sander Puri 85), Ishamil Akinade, Courtney Duffus (Noel Hunt 65).

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle (Sam Bone 13), Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Luke Byrne; Brandon Kavanagh (Aaron Greene 62), Ronan Finn, Greg Bolger, Dylan Watts, Joel Coustrain; Dan Carr (Gary Shaw 62).

Referee: Robert Harvey.

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