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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 19 January 2021
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Jack Byrne stars again as leaders Shamrock Rovers maintain eight-point advantage

Stephen Bradley’s men will take some catching atop the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table.

A young Rovers fan knew who the star man would be ahead of tonight's clash in Tallaght.
A young Rovers fan knew who the star man would be ahead of tonight's clash in Tallaght.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 2

Waterford FC 1

A JACK BYRNE-INSPIRED Shamrock Rovers made light work of Waterford FC to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division after a 2-1 win in Tallaght Stadium.

Despite the scoreline, Rovers dominated as Sean Kavanagh and Roberto Lopes had the home side 2-0 up before Aaron Drinan grabbed a consolation in the final minute of stoppage time for Waterford.

The visitors started brightly and almost took a third-minute lead. Aaron Drinan broke down the left and played the crossfield ball for the on-rushing Zack Elbouzedi but he couldn’t get his shot on target.

Sean Kavanagh celebrates scoring a goal with Trevor Clarke Sean Kavanagh celebrates his opener with Trevor Clarke. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Sean Kavanagh fired just wide as the home side looked for an early breakthrough before Bastien Hery fired wide for the visitors.

Jack Byrne and Sean Kavanagh linked up well down the left as Shamrock Rover began to dictate the game; the latter’s cross was well collected by Waterford keeper Matthew Connor.

Rovers pushed on and took the lead after 27 minutes. Aaron Greene and Trevor Clarke linked up down the left and found Sean Kavanagh inside the penalty area who fired into the bottom corner for the opener.

Jack Byrne with Karolis Chvedukas Jack Byrne was again outstanding for the hosts. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

It was almost 2-0 before the break. Ronan Finn did well down the right and he put it on a plate for Aaron Greene but for a vital block from Waterford centre-back Maxim Kouogun as Rovers went in 1-0 in front at the break.

The first chance of the second period fell to the hosts as Trevor Clarke crossed from the left for Ronan Finn but Waterford keeper Connor got down well to make an excellent save to deny the midfielder’s pinpoint header.

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As Waterford prepped a double change, Rovers hit a sucker punch and doubled their lead. Jack Byrne, the standout performer on the pitch once again, whipped in the corner and found the head of Roberto Lopes to make it 2-0.

Roberto Lopes celebrates scoring a goal with Joey O'Brien Roberto Lopes celebrates scoring a goal with Joey O'Brien. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Waterford tried to get back into the game as Elbouzedi drove through the middle but his curling strike was just wide of the target.

At the other end, the league leaders were denied a third goal as Connor saved well from Trevor Clarke.

In the final minute of stoppage time, Waterford FC grabbed a consolation. Izzy Akinade did well down the left to find Aaron Drinan and he found the bottom corner of Mannus’ goal, but it was all too late.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Joey O’Brien, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Dylan Watts (Joel Coustrain 68′), Ronan Finn, Aaron McEneff, Jack Byrne (Brandon Kavanagh 86′), Sean Kavanagh, Trevor Clarke, Aaron Greene (Orhan Vojic 79′)

Waterford FC: Matthew Connor, Rory Feely (Georgie Poynton 86′), Maxim Kouogun, Damien Delaney, Kevin Lynch, Bastien Héry (Izzy Akinade 68′), Karolis Chvedukas (Cory Galvin 68′), Shane Duggan, JJ Lunney, Zack Elbouzedi, Aaron Drinan

Referee: Robert Hennessy (Limerick)

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