Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Dundalk
By Jamie Moore at Tallaght Stadium
Dundalk’s title defence looks to be over after just 12 games of the new SSE Airtricity League season.
Stephen Kenny’s team are now a whopping FIFTEEN point behind leaders Cork City after Friday’s 2-1 defeat at Shamrock Rovers.
First-half goals from ex Dundalk star Ronan Finn and Dave McAllister secured what was only Rovers’ 5th win of this campaign.
Stephen Bradley’s team fully deserved their victory but could have thrown it away in injury time.
Winger Darren Meenan was sent off for a second booking, then Niclas Vemmelund scored from a header from Patrick McEleney's wide free kick, but it was too little too late.
Rovers took the lead in the 18th minute.
Simon Madden cut inside and pulled back to Finn. He finished well into the bottom corner and celebrated, it’s not often someone celebrates against their old team, refreshingly he did.
Rovers should have been 2-0 up just before the half hour, good play set up Gary Shaw, but Graham Burke got his header all wrong and the ball ended up in Gary Rogers’ arms.
Conor Clifford’s shot then whistled just over the crossbar before Michael Duffy’s shot was well held by Tomer Chencinski.
Burke almost profited from mistake by Clifford, but his shot was blocked as Dundalk kept passing the ball to the wrong team.
One became two in the 37th minute, Burke’s corner found McAllister with the freedom of the back post, he headed it into the net to make it 2-0.
Dundalk are usually so strong on set pieces, they were nowhere to be seen on Friday night.
Dane Massey’s snap-shot straight at Chencinski was the last action of the a feisty first half.
The Champions moved to a back three for the second-half in a bid to create some chances.
Patrick’s McEleney’s was shot blocked wide before Rovers could have been 3-0 up when Gary Shaw (below) tried an Emre Can. His overhead kicked was beaten away by Rogers’ right hand.
John Mountney’s cross was just too hard for Dave McMillan then Massey’s centre hit the arm of Roberto Lopes, no penalty said the ref.
McMillan then headed Mountney’s cross wide in the best of their few chances.
Rovers' winger Darren Meenan was sent off for a second yellow in the 93rd minute before Dundalk got one back.
That win moves The Hoops to within five points of Dundalk and two points of the top four.
For Dundalk and their manager Stephen Kenny, their fourth league title win in a row is all but gone.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Roberto Lopes, Dave Webster, Luke Byrne; Dave McAllister (Sam Bone, 90), Ronan Finn; Darren Meenan, Graham Burke (Brandon Miele, 80), Trevor Clarke; Gary Shaw (Sean Boyd, 80).
Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Niclas Vemmelund, Sean Hoare, Paddy Barrett, Dane Massey; Stephen O’Donnell (Chris Shields, 32), Conor Clifford (Ciaran Kilduff, 71); John Mountney, Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; Dave McMillan (Thomas Stewart, 81).
Ref – Rob Rogers