Gannon Goal Seals Precious Three Points
Dundalk went 8 points clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity League on Friday night as they defeated Shamrock Rovers in a hard fought clash!
SSE Airtricity League Player of the Month for May Sean Gannon’s strike in the second half was enough for the champions to take all three points at Tallaght Stadium.
It was a scrappy opening with both sides struggling to gain any rhythm and it was Jack Byrne who had the first shot for the hosts but his effort was wide.
Lee Grace had a header loop over the bar but there was no chances of significance in the opening quarter.
The sides then traded blocked shots when first Patrick Hoban had his effort from 30 yards charged down and at the other end Byrne from the same distance had his stopped by Brian Gartland.
The Lilywhites had their first chance of note 10 minutes before the break when Patrick McEleney’s clever ball found Michael Duffy who chested it down for Sean Gannon but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
Almost immediately, Rovers had a golden opportunity to take the lead.
A superb ball across the box from Dan Carr found Ronan Finn but his shot was somehow blocked on the line by Dane Massey and out for a corner.
From the corner Joey O’Brien rose highest but his goalbound header was blocked by his own captain – Finn – and the Lilywhites were able to clear.
The home side came even closer when Byrne found space just outside the box and unleashed a stunning drive however the crossbar saved Dundalk.
The half-time break came and it was scoreless between the sides.
Carr had the first attempt after the re-start for Rovers but his effort was tame and straight into the arms of Rogers.
The Lilywhites had their best chances of the match when John Moutntney’s cross went all the way to Hoban with Murray missing it but his shot was blocked.
Then moments later, Duffy got free and set McEleney free inside the box but he ran out of space and his shot from an acute angle was into the side netting.
The referee was in the limelight just after the hour mark when a loose pass from Sean Hoare allowed Trevor Clarke to get past Gartland and go through on goal. He touched it past Rogers who brought him down however referee Rob Harvey produced a yellow card when the home support begged for a red.
The champions took the lead with just under 20 minutes remaining somewhat against the run of play.
A clever header from McEleney found substitute Jamie McGrath. He waited for the overlap from Gannon who appeared to deceive the home defence and he found himself in acres of space.
He had options to square it however he chose to go on himself and his low effort went under Mannus and trickled into the net via the base of the post to send the away support into raptures.
Ganno was hungry for a second and he found space 20 yards from goal but fired just wide with Mannus beaten.
Dundalk then had the chance to really kill it off when Hoban robbed Lopes and it left him on a two v one with Duffy.
Duffy ran left and Hoban decided not to use him but his shot was easily gathered by Mannus.
It looked like the Hoops had equalised in the 83rd minute when Aaron Greene got in on goal however his effort was inches wide of the post.
It was almost 2-0 though when a superb break away from McGrath saw him go unopposed through the Rovers half and he threaded it to McEleney but his drive was just past the post.
Rovers did have one final chance to level it in the 94th minute when Clarke got on the run down the left and a good cross to Greene but he snatched at it and it was wide.
That was it and referee Harvey blew the full-time whistle much to the delight of the travelling support!
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Trevor Clarke; Dylan Watts (Brandon Kavanagh 77), Greg Bolger; Sean Kavanagh, Ronan Finn (capt), Jack Byrne; Dan Carr (Aaron Greene 72).
Substitutes not used: Leon Pohls (GK), Ethan Boyle, Orhan Vojic, Joel Coustrain, Thomas Oluwa.
Booked: Clarke (12), Byrne (25)
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland (capt), Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Sean Murray (Jamie McGrath 64); John Mountney (Robbie Benson 79), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 85)
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey, Daniel Kelly, Cameron Dummigan, Dylan Hand.
Booked: Mountney (21), Rogers (61), Shields (69)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Robert Harvey