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Shamrock Rovers boost European hopes with win in Limerick

Dave McAllister and Ronan Finn bagged the goals on a night that was comfortable for Stephen Bradley’s troops.

Shamrock Rovers Ronan Finn celebrates scoring a goal with Gary Shaw with Ryan Connolly.
Shamrock Rovers Ronan Finn celebrates scoring a goal with Gary Shaw with Ryan Connolly.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Limerick 0

Shamrock Rovers 2

SHAMROCK ROVERS KEPT up the pressure on Derry City in the quest for Europe with a 2-0 win over Limerick on Shannonside.

Dave McAllister and Ronan Finn bagged the goals on a night that was comfortable for Stephen Bradley’s troops.

Rovers and Limerick both progressed into the next round of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup at the weekend — and changes were aplenty from both sides.

Limerick reintroduced captain Shane Duggan and Dean Clarke as well as handing a league debut for Peter Berki up front.

The Hoops rested some first-team talent on Friday against Glenville, but Dave McAllister, Ryan Connolly, Brandon Miele and James Doona came into the side. Graham Burke missed out due to suspension.

A first half with a very low tempo was occasionally dotted with good attacking patterns. Bastien Hery looked the most likely to unlock Rovers’ door for Limerick, but Bradley’s charges had the better of the opening 45.

Despite their supremacy, Limerick had a glorious chance to open the scoring inside the first minute when good link-up between Chiedozie Ogbene and Hungarian Peter Berki shifted play towards Dean Clarke. The 24-year-old attacker took a touch but fired over with only Chencinski to beat from a tight angle.

In truth, that’s all the home side would offer for next three quarters of an hour. Finn, Connolly and McAllister kept the ball between them for long spells but were consistently thwarted by quick reactions from Brendan Clarke and the solid presence of Joe Crowe.

Clarke and O’Connor combined early on to deny the visitors the lead when Finn’s effort was well saved before McAllister’s follow-up was cleared a yard from the goal line.

Limerick’s achilles heel all season has been defending set pieces. In their last league game, they conceded three times at Oriel Park via that line of attack. Dave McAllister took full advantage of that weakness shortly before the half-time whistle.

Brandon Miele’s corner from the right was swung in towards the penalty spot and the midfielder was unmarked to power his header past Brendan Clarke.

Within 15 minutes of the restart, Rovers put the result beyond doubt. A hopeful ball into the box asked a question of Tony Whitehead. The young defender couldn’t clear, however, and Ronan Finn skipped into the box before curling a brilliant effort past Clarke to seal the result.

Limerick: Brendan Clarke; Barry Cotter, Joe Crowe, Tony Whitehead, David O’Connor; Lee-J Lynch, Bastien Hery, Shane Duggan (Rodrigo Tosi, 66), Dean Clarke (Stephen Kenny, 56); Peter Berki (Grabhan Coughlan, 56), Chiedozie Ogbene.

Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Dave Webster, Lee Grace, Trevor Clarke; Ryan Connolly (Aaron Bolger, 78), David McAllister; Brandon Miele, Ronan Finn, James Doona (Cameron King, 66); Gary Shaw (Michael O’Connor, 83).

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)

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About the author:

Andrew Cunneen

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