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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 27 March, 2019
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Ex-Villa youngster grabs four as Shamrock Rovers thrash dire Derry

It was a night to remember for 24-year-old Dubliner Graham Burke.

Derry City's Ronan Curtis with Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers.
Derry City's Ronan Curtis with Ronan Finn of Shamrock Rovers.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 6

Derry City 1

Paul Fennessy reports from Tallaght Stadium

DERRY CITY’S DISAPPOINTING start to the season continued, as a clinical Shamrock Rovers beat them 6-1 on a cold and rainy evening at Tallaght Stadium tonight.

Just a single Graham Burke goal shortly before the interval separated the sides at half-time, but Rovers ran riot in the second period.

Off-season recruit Sean Kavanagh, who almost joined Derry before committing to the Dublin side, grabbed a second, before the returning Ronan Finn hit a third for the hosts.

Former Villa youngster Burke then secured his hat-trick, with substitute Ronan Hale adding a consolation in between those two efforts, while the 24-year-old Dubliner added a fourth to complete the away side’s misery in second-half stoppage time.

For all their mistakes on the night, the visitors started brightly. Eoin Toal went close early on, heading an Aaron McEneff corner just wide.

Moments later, Nicky Low audaciously attempted to lob Kevin Horgan from distance, but his effort did not have the requisite power or accuracy to find the net.

As the half wore on, Rovers came into the game more. However, a Trevor Clarke shot from distance comfortably saved by Gerard Doherty was the best attempt they could muster in the early stages.

Shortly thereafter, Burke’s free kick was half cleared, and Kavanagh’s powerful first-time shot from the edge of the area forced a good save from Doherty.

Stephen Bradley Shamrock Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Up front for the hosts, Dan Carr was posing problems, swivelling away from two defenders midway through the opening period, but his lay-off was blazed well over by Burke.

The game’s first clear-cut chance came on 24 minutes. Brandon Miele latched on to Kavanagh’s brilliant defence-splitting pass, but the attacker could not finish when one-on-one with Doherty, who parried his attempt wide.

Derry almost found the net five minutes later. Nicky Low played Rory Patterson through on goal and the striker rounded Kevin Horgan, but his finish was cleared off the line by an alert Lee Grace.

The lively Carr continued to pose a threat, and his shot on the turn from the edge of the area was deflected over on 35 minutes.

Five minutes before half-time, Finn got on the end of Burke’s free kick out wide, but the midfielder’s header was straight at the goalkeeper.

The same attacking combination linked up again moments later for the game’s opening goal. When everyone was expecting a shot from the edge of the area, a lovely clipped through pass by Finn found Burke, who made no mistake with the finish, blasting the ball home with a left-footed shot into the top corner.

Just after the break, Burke was involved in another Rovers attack. The attacker found space down the right and his cross picked out Carr, but the youngster blasted wastefully wide from inside the box.

And after that early second-half warning, there was no second let-off for Derry on 52 minutes. A through pass by Sam Bone found Kavanagh, before the former Fulham player turned his marker and finished coolly to double his side’s advantage.

The hosts were opening up their opponents at will now and they nearly made it three on 55 minutes, as Carr played through Burke, but the youngster’s attempted chip was straight at the goalkeeper.

Darren Cole with Brandon Miele Darren Cole competes for possession with Brandon Miele. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

In an effort to rescue the game, Derry boss Kenny Shiels made a change on 59 minutes, with Ronan Hale coming on for Niall Logue. It was their second substitution of the match, after Conor McDermott had replaced the injured Jamie McDonagh in the first half.

Nonetheless, it was Rovers who grew stronger as the second half progressed, and they would make this dominance count by extending their advantage just before the hour mark.

Miele cut the ball back from out wide and Finn fired powerfully home from about 25 yards out on his first start since the opening day of the season, after returning from an injury he suffered in the loss to Bohs.

There was further woe for Derry just a minute later, as Doherty unwittingly played the ball out straight to Miele, whose pass found Burke, and the attacker made no mistake to slot home his second of the match with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Against the run of play, the visitors scored a consolation moments later. Hale latched on to Patterson’s through pass, and the youngster fired home a fine finish to reduce the deficit.

Rovers were not done yet, however. Clarke’s cross found Burke, who had the easiest of tap-ins for his hat-trick with 15 minutes remaining.

The scoring was then completed in injury time. Substitute Gary Shaw produced a lovely through pass to Burke, whose finish went between Doherty’s legs to ensure a rout.

The result leaves Derry second from bottom on three points, with Rovers climbing to fourth on the back of tonight’s win.

Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan, Ethan Boyle (Roberto Lopes 69), Ally Gilchrist, Sam Bone, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh, Ronan Finn (David McAllister 73), Trevor Clarke, Brandon Miele, Graham Burke, Daniel Carr (Gary Shaw 72). Subs: Tomer Chencinski, Roberto Lopes, David McAllister, Sean Boyd, Luke Byrne, Joel Coustrain, Sean Boyd.

Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Nicky Low, Niall Logue (Ronan Hale 59), Ben Doherty, Darren Cole, Eoin Toal, Rory Hale (Dapo Kayode 83), Aaron McEneff, Jamie McDonagh (Conor McDermott 30), Ronan Curtis, Rory Patterson. Subs: Eric Grimes, Conor McDermott, Dapo Kayode, Evan Tweed, Ronan Hale, Scott Whiteside, Jack Doyle.

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Paul Fennessy

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