Night of celebration for Shamrock Rovers as League of Ireland trophy returns to Tallaght Stadium

The presentation took place after the newly-crowned champions played out a draw with St Patrick’s Athletic.

ronan-finn-lifts-the-sse-airtricity-league-premier-division-trophy Celebrations for Shamrock Rovers tonight in Tallaght. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 0
St Patrick’s Athletic 0

Dave Donnelly reports from Tallaght Stadium

SHAMROCK ROVERS WERE presented with the League of Ireland Premier Division trophy after maintaining their unbeaten league record this evening at Tallaght Stadium.

The Hoops, who have been crowned champions for the first time since 2011, played out a scoreless draw with St Patrick’s Athletic, despite playing the last 20 minutes with 10 men following Joey O’Brien’s red card.

Rovers captain Ronan Finn held the trophy aloft following a game that only sparked into action in the final half hour.

the-pats-team-give-2020-champions-shamrock-rovers-a-guard-of-honour Shamrock Rovers were afforded a guard of honour by St Patrick's Athletic before the game. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

With both sides having played twice in the previous seven days, there was a lethargic feel to a first half that passed by with little incident.

Dylan Watts called Brendan Clarke into action early doors with a well-struck effort, while Jordan Gibson flicked a header wide at the other end.

There was a return to action for Jack Byrne, sooner than anticipated, following his well-publicised bout of Covid-19 – he replaced the injured Graham Burke during the first quarter.

The best chance of the half fell to Rovers’ Rhys Marshall. He was played through by a lovely Aaron McEneff pass but, after checking inside Ian Bermingham, he curled his shot wide.

rhys-marshall-with-billy-king Rhys Marshall of Shamrock Rovers under pressure from St Patrick's Athletic's Billy King. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The Saints drew the first save from Alan Mannus four minutes into the second half as Robbie Benson teed up Georgie Kelly, and the keeper batted his effort clear.

Sean Kavanagh, who would complete 90 minutes for the first time following a long absence with a knee injury, denied Rory Feely a certain goal on the hour-mark as he mopped up at the back post.

Aaron Greene stung the palms of Clarke as both sides upped the tempo and, as Pat’s broke from the resulting corner, Gibson really should have finished one on one with Mannus.

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O’Brien saw red for a second bookable offence 20 minutes from time and the visitors turned the screw in search of their first win in Tallaght in four years.

jack-byrne-lifts-the-sse-airtricity-league-premier-division-trophy Jack Byrne gets his hands on the trophy. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Benson forced Mannus to tip over and, from the resulting corner, Luke McNally’s header was well-saved by the Belfast man.

Rovers had a glorious chance to win it late on as Byrne’s terrific pass played in Greene, but McNally outpaced the striker to deny the shot.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Lee Grace (Roberto Lopes 63), Liam Scales; Rhys Marshall (Danny Lafferty 63), Ronan Finn, Aaron McEneff, Dylan Watts, Sean Kavanagh; Graham Burke (Jack Byrne 24), Aaron Greene (Thomas Oluwa 87).

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely (Jason McClelland 85), Lee Desmond, Luke McNally, Ian Bermingham; Jamie Lennon, Chris Forrester, Robbie Benson; Jordan Gibson (Darragh Burns 80), Shane Griffin (Billy King 53), Georgie Kelly.

Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).

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