Farrugia goal sends Shamrock Rovers five points clear at top of Premier Division

A 1-0 win for the home side tonight over UCD.

Shamrock Rovers players celebrate Neil Farrugia's goal.
Shamrock Rovers players celebrate Neil Farrugia's goal.
Image: Ben Brady/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 1


Ronan MacNamara reports from Tallaght Stadium

NEIL FARRUGIA’S THIRD goal in as many league games ensured Shamrock Rovers opened up a five-point lead over Derry City at the Premier Division summit after a 1-0 victory over UCD that was far from comfortable.

Rovers took an early lead through Farrugia but they were unable to put the game to bed and were fortunate to come out with the result after a spirited performance from the visitors.

Rory Gaffney was public enemy number one with the South Stand ultras after pinching an expert Farrugia pullback from the toe of Graham Burke but he soon got back into the good books with a measured cross for Farrugia who tapped in from close range after 13 minutes.

As expected, the game was dominated by the champions elect but UCD had their moments. The lively Dylan Duffy had a shot deflected wide after Sean Gannon slipped and Donal Higgins saw a shot flash wide towards the end of the first half.

Farrugia playing at right wing back was the star of the show. His run down the flank toyed with the Students before he delivered a beautiful reverse pass for Gaffney whose first time shot in the area smacked Lorcan Healy in the face who was subsequently replaced by Kian Moore at the interval. Farrugia almost turned provider for Gaffney again after the break but his finish hit the side netting before Sean Kavanagh’s snapshot drew a fine save from Moore.

Moore was out like a flash to deny Farrugia after some gorgeous link up play from Gaffney and Burke as Rovers continued to pepper the UCD goal. While Moore kept UCD alive, Alan Mannus warmed his fingertips on a chilly night with a super save to tip over Duffy’s curling effort which drew a roar of frustration from the depleted home crowd.

The Hoops continued to launch an assault on the visitors goal through Gaffney, Jack Byrne, Burke and a glancing header from Gannon. The clinching second wasn’t forthcoming but ultimately wasn’t needed.

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Stephen Bradley’s charges became ponderous in possession and Andy Myler’s side might have snatched a point deep into stoppage time through a combination of John Haist and Duffy.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Sean Gannon, Lee Grace, Daniel Cleary, Dylan Watts (Lennox 89), Graham Burke (Finn 85), Sean Kavanagh, Gary O’Neill (Greene 63), Neil Farrugia, Rory Gaffney, Jack Byrne.

UCD: Lorcan Healy (Moore 46), Alex Dunne (Gallagher75), Jack Keaney, Sam Todd, Dara Keane, Dylan Duffy, Evan Caffrey, Evan Osam, Donal Higgins (Haist 69), Sean Brennan, Alex Nolan (Harry O’Connor 83)

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Ronan Macnamara

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