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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Dundalk drop further points as Shamrock Rovers hold firm in Tallaght

Stephen Kenny’s men have still yet to score a single goal this season.

Dundalk’s Pat Hoban and Lee Grace of Shamrock Rovers in action.
Dundalk’s Pat Hoban and Lee Grace of Shamrock Rovers in action.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 0

Dundalk 0

Paul Fennessy reports from Tallaght Stadium

DUNDALK’S WINLESS START to the season continued in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division tonight, as they drew 0-0 with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium.

For the hosts, Brandon Miele saw his first-half thunderbolt from distance come back off the post, while Lilywhites attacker Pat Hoban wasted a glorious chance when one-on-one with Kevin Horgan after the break.

However, it was a game in which neither team did enough to merit a victory, with chances at a premium and a lack of creativity and ruthlessness in the final third hampering both sides’ efforts.

The frenetic, scrappy and evenly fought opening stages saw little in the way of goalmouth action.

The game’s first half-chance arrived on 17 minutes, when Hoban narrowly failed to connect with Michael Duffy’s free-kick out wide.

Rovers’ best moment up to that point came on 20 minutes, as Miele’s audacious attempt from 30 yards out hit the woodwork.

There was anxiety in the Dublin team’s defence moments later, as Ally Gilchrist’s attempted backpass strayed beyond Kevin Horgan, but much to the home support’s relief, the goalkeeper got back in time to avert the danger.

On 26 minutes, Gary Shaw showed a good turn of pace to get away from Stephen Folan, but his cross was subsequently parried away to safety.

Shortly thereafter, Horgan could only parry a cross into the path of Daniel Cleary, but the ex-Liverpool defender fired his attempt well over from the edge of the box.

As half-time approached, Dundalk were struggling to create chances, with the hosts’ well-organised backline consistently smothering wave after wave of attack.

Jamie McGrath’s hopeful pot shot from distance, which sailed well over five minutes before the break, suggested a degree of frustration creeping into the visitors’ game, as they tried in vain to break down Stephen Bradley’s men.

The second half continued in a similar pattern, with both sides cancelling each other out in the early stages.

Ally Gilchrist and Pat Hoban Shamrock Rovers' Ally Gilchrist and Pat Hoban of Dundalk battle for the ball. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Stephen Kenny was clearly less than satisfied with his side’s efforts in attack and made a change 10 minutes into the second half, with Dylan Connolly replacing the ineffectual Ronan Murray.

Nonetheless, it was Rovers who threatened straight after the substitution — Miele’s effort from the edge of the area was straight at Gary Rogers, though it was at least a shot on target, the home side’s first of the game.

Dundalk then wasted their best chance of the match on 61 minutes. Robbie Benson played a deft pass through to the onrushing Hoban, but the attacker dragged his shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

It proved to be the former Oxford striker’s final act of the game, as he was replaced by fellow off-season signing Marco Tagbajumi moments later.

Rovers were also struggling to test the opposition goalkeeper and made an attacking switch of their own with 20 minutes remaining, as Daniel Carr was introduced in place of the hard-working Shaw, who had to work off scraps all night.

Tagbajumi made his presence felt up front late on, shrugging off the challenge of his marker, but his through pass towards Duffy was overhit.

And despite five attacking changes overall in the second period, no one on the pitch could provide the necessary moment of inspiration in an uneventful final 10 minutes, as both teams had to settle for a point.

Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan, Ethan Boyle, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne, Lee Grace, Joel Coustrain (Kavanagh 80), Greg Bolger, David McAllister, Brandon Miele, Graham Burke, Gary Shaw (Carr 70). Subs: Tomer Chencinski, Roberto Lopes, Daniel Carr, Sean Kavanagh, Sean Boyd, Aaron Bolger, Sam Bone.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Stephen Folan, Dane Massey, Daniel Cleary, Chris Shields, Michael Duffy, Robbie Benson, Jamie McGrath (Adorjan 73), Patrick Hoban (Tagbajumi 62), Ronan Murray (Connolly 55). Subs: Gabriel Sava, Krisztan Adorjan, Karolis Chveoukas, Dylan Connolly, George Poynton, Marco Tagbajumi, Dean Jarvis.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

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Paul Fennessy

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