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Shamrock Rovers warm up for Europa League clash with seven-goal hammering of UCD

Stephen Bradley’s side hit seven past The Students with a dominant display at Tallaght Stadium.

Aaron McEneff celebrates scoring his side's fifth goal.
Aaron McEneff celebrates scoring his side's fifth goal.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 7

UCD 0

Dave Donnelly reports from Tallaght Stadium

SHAMROCK ROVERS WARMED up for Thursday’s Europa League clash against Apollon Limassol with a 7-0 demolition of UCD under a deluge of rain in Tallaght, a result that leaves the Students bottom.

It wasn’t quite Portrush levels of torrential rain – and fans could at least find shelter in the stands – but it didn’t save the small away contingent seeing their club buried in a flood of goals.

Graham Cummins bagged his first goal in Rovers colours before Aaron McEneff, Dan Carr and Jack Byrne had the game wrapped up by the midway point in the first half.

McEneff brought up his double after the break and substitute Aaron Greene added a brace of his own as Stephen Bradley’s side ran up their biggest win in Tallaght since beating Dundalk 7-0 in 2012.

Cummins had already passed up a chance to open his Hoops account, failing to make contact with Dylan Watts’ cross inside three minutes, when he did finally break his duck on 13 minutes.

Byrne’s through ball was deflected into the Cork City loanee’s path and goalkeeper Gavin Sheridan couldn’t keep his powerful shot out at the near post.

Graham Cummins scores his sides first goal Graham Cummins opened the scoring in Tallaght on Saturday. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

McEneff doubled the advantage five minutes later as he glanced home Byrne’s corner before Carr found it all too easy to flick home Sean Kavanagh’s cross two minutes later.

By the 23rd minute, Rovers were home and hosed (though the elements would have made sure of the latter regardless) as Byrne served up a wonderful solo effort.

The former Manchester City playmaker dropped a shoulder and skipped through two challenges on the edge of the box before firing past the helpless Sheridan.

UCD survived until the break but were soon five down as Aaron Greene, on at half time along with debutant Eric Abulu as Bradley kept an eye on Thursday, teed up McEneff to tap in his second.

Greene got in on the act shortly afterward, nodding home Kavanagh’s cross from close range, a sixth goal that saw Finn Harps move above UCD into the play-offs without kicking a ball.

Carr hit the bar from close range but, despite smart saves from Sheridan to deny Byrne and Watts, Greene robbed Evan Farrell to make it 7-0 with 14 minutes left.

The result leaves UCD bottom on goal difference, one behind Finn Harps, and their game in hand comes away against Dundalk.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle (Eric Abulu 46), Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh; Gary O’Neill, Aaron McEneff, Jack Byrne (Thomas Oluwa 59); Dylan Watts, Dan Carr, Graham Cummins (Aaron Greene 46).

UCD: Gavin Sheridan; Dan Tobin, Harry McEvoy, Evan Farrell; Richie O’Farrell (Isaac Akinsete 75), Jack Keaney, Paul Doyle, Jason McClelland, Mark Dignam; Dara Keane (Jack Ryan 65), Yoyo Mahdy (Danu Kinsella Bishop 46).

Referee: Ben Connolly.

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