Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Peter Fitzpatrick/INPHO Danny Mandroiu scores Rovers' second goal.
# Capital gains
Rovers move within a point of Derry City despite best efforts of Harps' McGinley
A goal by Roberto Lopes and Danny Mandroiu’s brace narrowed the gap between the champions and the leaders.

Shamrock Rovers 3

Finn Harps 1

Dave Donnelly reports from Tallaght Stadium

A MARK MCGINLEY masterclass wasn’t enough to keep Shamrock Rovers at bay as the champions eased past Finn Harps to move within a point of league leaders Derry City.

Roberto Lopes scored his first goal of the season and Danny Mandroiu’s double took him to five, as Rovers took advantage of Bohemians holding Derry.

Keeper McGinley was in inspired form during a frenetic second period as the Hoops looked to boost their goal difference only to face a pink wall in the Harps goal.

stephen-bradley-before-the-game Peter Fitzpatrick / INPHO Stephen Bradley pre-game. Peter Fitzpatrick / INPHO / INPHO

The former UCD man pulled off wonderful saves to deny Richie Towell, Aidomo Emakhu and Aaron Greene as Rovers laid siege to the Harps goal after the break.

Hoops boss Stephen Bradley, who this morning turned down an offer from English League One side Lincoln City, will have been pleased with his side’s performance, if not their ruthlessness.

The second half was quite a turnaround following a first half that saw Harps perhaps a touch unlucky to go in trailing by two goals.

They played a full part in the game and created chances of their own as Ollie Horgan played an attacking formation with Yoyo Mahdy partnering Filip Mihaljovic up top.

And there was a hint of controversy about the opener as Rory Gaffney competed for the ball with McGinley, but Welsh referee Tom Owen was happy to play on.

Lopes, who has had his minutes managed since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, was happy to smash the loose ball past a mass of defenders.

roberto-lopes-celebrates-scoring-their-first-goal-with-lee-grace Peter Fitzpatrick / INPHO Pico Lopes celebrates his goal with Lee Grace. Peter Fitzpatrick / INPHO / INPHO

Alan Mannus was sharp to deny Mahdy an immediate equaliser from close range as Barry McNamee cut open the Hoops defence.

Rovers doubled their lead three minutes later as Sean Gannon’s right wing cross found Mandroiu peeling off the defender.

The Ireland call-up attempted to connect with a diving header but making contact with his chest was the next best thing as McGinley was left helpless.

And Jack Byrne created the goal of the game with a stunning cross from deep on the right that, this time, Mandroiu met with a diving header that had too much for McGinley.

daniel-mandroiu-celebrates-scoring-their-second-goal Peter Fitzpatrick / INPHO Mandroiu celebrates his fifth of the campaign. Peter Fitzpatrick / INPHO / INPHO

Harps pulled one back in deserved fashion before the break as Jesse Devers found Conor Tourish to send a bullet header past Mannus but that’d be their last hurrah.

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The Hoops battered their Donegal opponents in the second half, McGinley superbly denying Mandroiu, on a hat-trick, and Towell within the first five minutes.

Sub Emakhu was next to be denied after he weaved his way through three tackles to go one on one and looked certain to score.

The Clondalkin teenager was desperately unlucky a minute later as another fine run ended with his shot somehow bouncing out off the inside of the post.

McGinley would deny Emakhu, who scored in this game at the tail end of last season, with another outstanding stop after Tourish had blocked Towell’s effort.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Gannon, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace (Seán Hoare); Andy Lyons (Barry Cotter 60), Richie Towell, Chris McCann, Sean Kavanagh; Jack Byrne (Graham Burke 46), Danny Mandroiu (Aaron Greene 60), Rory Gaffney (Aidomo Emakhu 46).

Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Erol Erdal Alkan, Conor Tourish, Rob Slevin, Regan Donelon; Ethan Boyle; Ryan Rainey, Jesse Devers, Barry McNamee (Luke Rudden 71); Yoyo Mahdy (Nathan Logue 83), Filip Mihajlovic (Sean McDermott 89).

Referee: Tom Owen (Wales)

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