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Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers can't be separated at packed Tolka Park

A share of the spoils was a fair result.

Shelbourne's Luke Byrne with Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers.
Shelbourne's Luke Byrne with Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Shelbourne FC 0

Shamrock Rovers 0

SHELBOURNE AND SHAMROCK Rovers couldn’t be separated in the Ringsend Derby as both teams cancelled each other out on the night

A share of the spoils was a fair result in a war of attrition in which neither ‘keeper was really troubled on a chilly evening at a packed Tolka Park.

The visitors, probably carrying a bit of a European hangover into their FAI Cup quarter final clash with Derry City that saw them exit the competition — 3-1 after extra-time — looked a little light squad wise. Lee Grace who saw red in the cup clash was suspended, whilst Rovers had Irish underage duo Andy Lyons and Justin Ferizaj away on international duty but could still name the likes of Aaron Greene, Richie Towell and Chris McCann amongst their subs such is the strength in their ranks.

Shels were still riding the crest of a wave from their 3-0 trouncing of rivals Bohemians in Sunday’s quarter-final that saw them progress to their first semi-final in ten long years, but in doing so lost star man Jack Moylan to an ankle injury.

In a pretty evenly-fought opening it was the home side’s intense pressing that seemed to get the better of the sloppy visitors, epitomised by Sean Boyd’s block on an Alan Mannus clearance that could have gone anywhere.

shamrock-rovers-fans-throw-a-flare-onto-the-field A flare on the field at Tolka Park. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

The visitors did well to dampen the flames of the determined home side, keeping possession well and eventually pinning the home side back. A spate of corners and set-pieces nearly led to the opener when Sean Kavanagh picked up a loose ball on the left and delivered a deep cross to his skipper Ronan Finn who rose well, but could only guide his header just past the near post.

To their credit, Damien Duff’s Reds seemed to relish the challenge and looked a threat themselves. Ex-Rovers striker Sean Boyd, off the back of a double against Bohs and signing a new deal, proved to be a handful as expected. Shels top-scorer held off his marker, before teeing up his lively strike partner Matty Smith with a clever knock down.

There was an unsavoury incident just before the break when the game was temporarily halted due to a missile being thrown at the official, Christopher Campbell, who was patrolling in front of the Riverside stand. But thankfully play was allowed to continue.

The endeavour continued into the second period, but just like the first failed to yield any chances on goal, although Graham Burke’s effort from wide on the left almost found its way to Rory Gaffney who was hovering around the penalty area.

That was until the 70th minute when Dan Cleary stepped out of defence, over the halfway line and rattled the crossbar from at least 35 yards out with a thunderous effort, right in front of the sold-out 850-strong away section.

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damien-duff-with-stephen-bradley Damien Duff and Stephen Bradley after the game. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Matty Smith responded for the home side with a low strike from distance but failed to trouble Mannus in the Rovers net as neither side could find the all-important breakthrough.

Three-in-a-row title chasing Hoops move on to host second from bottom UCD on Monday night, the second of their games in hand, knowing that come Tuesday morning, there could be a bit more breathing space between them and the chasers as they look to juggle a busy schedule of both domestic and European action in the coming weeks.

Shelbourne FC: Brendan Clarke, John Ross Wilson, Shane Griffin, Luke Byrne, Kameron Ledwidge, Shane Farrell, Gavin Molloy, JJ Lunney (Mark Coyle, 78’), Brian McManus (Aodh Dervin, 24’), Matty Smith, Sean Boyd.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Ronan Finn, Sean Gannon, Dan Cleary, Sean Kavanagh, Neil Farrugia (Chris McCann, 45’), Jack Byrne, Gary O’Neill, Dylan Watts (Richie Towell, 74’), Graham Burke (Aidomo Emakhu, 76’), Rory Gaffney (Aaron Greene, 67’)

Referee: Ben Connolly.

About the author:

Darryl Geraghty  / reports from Tolka Park.

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