Shamrock Rovers 4-1 Drogheda United
By Jamie Moore at Tallaght Stadium
Shamrock Rovers kept up the pressure on the top three in the race for Europe with this win over struggling Drogheda United at Tallaght Stadium.
Second half goals from Gary Shaw and Trevor Clarke helped them to an important three points, although they could have endured a nervy finish.
The game burst into life just TWENTY SECONDS after the restart when Shaw scored, before Clarke made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute.
Sean Brennan got one back for Drogheda with twenty minutes left, but Pete Mahon’s team were unable to get another.
Sub James Doona then get Rovers' third with ten minutes left to settle to nerves, befure Aaron Bolger's goal in added time made it 4-1.
The win keeps The Hoops in 4th, just one point behind Bray.
For Drogheda, it’s another defeat, Pete Mahon’s team remain in trouble in the relegation zone.
Rovers should have been ahead in the fifth minute after one striker found the other. Michael O’Connor fed Shaw, but his shot was blocked out for a corner by Stephen McGuinness.
Drogheda’s first attack of any note came courtesy of Adam Wixted’s central run, he found Mark Doyle whose cross come shot was parried around the post by Tomer Chencinski.
Drogheda then missed their best chance of the game after half an hour.
Richie Purdy’s burst through midfield and his perfectly timed pass found Wixted, but his shot was straight at Chencinski. He had the whole goal to aim for and should have done better.
Stephen Bradley then changed his wingers and it should have led to a goal. Brandon Miele, now on the left, skipped by Deasy and crossed.
Michael O’Connor’s first time effort hit the bottom of the post, and bounced out.
It was a close as they went in the first half.
Drogheda had had their spell and the home team were on top.
Luke Byrne’s throw in was controlled by O’Connor and set to Miele, he dragged his shot wide.
Trevor Clarke’s shot which stung the palms of McGuinness and O’Connor’s lash over were the last action of a scoreless first half.
It took Rovers just 20 seconds after the break to take the lead.
Miele’s cross was chested down by O’Connor into the path of Shaw, who lashed the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
It was just what Rovers needed!
Miele’s curling shot then flew just wide a minute later, The Hoops could smell blood.
Sean Brennan robbed Ryan Connolly and tried to chip Chencinski from 40 yards as Drogheda pushed for an equaliser. The goalkeeper managed to get back to catch it easily in the 58th minute.
Then a sign for things to come.
Shaw then sent Clarke racing through, but he couldn’t hit the target.
He did with Rovers next attack.
This time sub Aaron Bolger played the pass, and the reported Southampton target Clarke couldn’t miss.
It looked like that was game, set and match, but Drogheda had other ideas.
Brennan made it 2-1 in the 69th minute, bundling Ciaran Masterson’s low cross into the net, he just about scored!
Thankfully for Rovers, they got a third with ten minutes left to settle any Tallaght Stadium nerves.
Simon Madden's low cross was well controlled by Doona, who finished to the bottom corner with his left foot.
Then 17 year old Bolger got his first goal in senior football, finishing well with his left foot after Drogheda failed to clear an attack.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Simon Madden, Roberto Lopes, Dan Devine, Luke Byrne; Brandon Miele, Ryan Connolly (Aaron Bolger, 60), Ronan Finn, Trevor Clarke (Darren Meenan, 77); Michael O’Connor (James Doona, 65), Gary Shaw.
Drogheda United – Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran McGuigans, Stephen Dunne (Conor Kane, 84); Adam Wixted, Ryan McEvoy, Richie Purdy, Mark Doyle; Ryan Masterson (Stephen Meaney, 70), Stephen Elliott (Sean Brennan, 36).
Referee – Sean Grant