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Rovers claim first victory at Oriel Park since 2014 as Gary Shaw's early goal proves crucial

Both teams tasted European disappointment during the week but still served up an entertaining clash.

Image: Donall Farmer; ©INPHO/Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dundalk 0

Shamrock Rovers 1

Caoimhin Reilly reports from Oriel Park. 

GARY SHAW’S EARLY strike earned Shamrock Rovers a first win at Oriel Park since 2014 this evening, while condemning Dundalk to a seventh league defeat of the season.

Make no qualms about it, Rovers richly deserved their victory. In fact, Stephen Bradley’s men should have won by more as they snuffed out the attacking threat posed by the Lilywhites with relative ease

While it was end-to-end stuff for much of the contest with the tempo of the game surprisingly high – considering both sides suffered European disappointment during the week – Rovers always held the upper hand.

Dundalk held the lion’s share of possession, most of which went through their talismanic captain Stephen O’Donnell, but Rovers boasted the bigger goal threat with Shaw and Graham Burke leading their attack with aplomb.

Dylan Connolly ought to have given the hosts the lead after 40 seconds, when played through by Robbie Benson, but his drive was wonderfully tipped around the post by Tomer Chencinski.

That was to prove the Lilywhites’ closest effort of the first-half as Rovers took the lead via Shaw after five minutes – his second goal against the champions this season. The Rovers frontman turned swivelled past Brian Gartland before firing to the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Gary Shaw Source: Donall Farmer; ©INPHO/Donall Farmer/INPHO

Burke and Brandon Miele fired efforts narrowly wide as the half progressed while David McMillan and Paddy Barrett did likewise at the opposite end.

Rovers took their fifth minute lead to the interval; an advantage which they almost doubled shortly after the half-time having forced a flurry of corners. The trajectory of Miele’s third set-piece in a row was perfect for Dave McAllister to head, which he obliged in doing only for Gary Rogers to save the effort low to his left.

Rogers was again forced into action, from Miele, moments later as Rovers looked on the verge of extending their cushion.

As it turned out, though, Dundalk found Rovers’ one goal lead unassailable. You couldn’t even say they came close to breaking their duck with a header off-target from O’Donnell all they could muster.

A late penalty call was waved away as Thomas Stewart fell to the ground, but a Dundalk equaliser would have been harsh on a Rovers side who thoroughly deserved their win.

Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers; Seán Hoare, Brian Gartland, Paddy Barrett, Dane Massey; Robbie Benson, Stephen O’Donnell; Dylan Connolly (John Mountney 75), Jamie McGrath (Thomas Stewart 60), Michael Duffy (Ciarán Kilduff 77); David McMillan

Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Roberto Lopes, Dave Webster, Luke Byrne; Dave McAllister, Ryan Connolly; Brandon Miele, Graham Burke (Seán Boyd 89), Trevor Clarke (Sam Bone 87); Gary Shaw (Michael O’Connor 90)

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin)

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Caoimhín Reilly

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