Lilywhites Lose In Tallaght
Dundalk’s 100% record was lost on Friday evening as they suffered a 3-2 defeat to Shamrock Rovers.
In a thrilling match at Tallaght Stadium, Dylan Watts gave Rovers a first half lead with Jordan Flores equalising almost immediately. Patrick Hoban put us in front just after the hour however Roberto Lopes and Jack Byrne netted to seal victory for the Hoops.
It was a cagey opening with both sides feeling each other out for the first fifteen minutes or so.
The first chance fell to the home side and it was a golden opportunity to take the lead when Dylan Watts, on the stretch, played a superb ball in behind to Aaron Greene who beat the offside trap.
He found himself one on one with Gary Rogers but with the goalkeeper to beat, he fired wide in a stunning miss.
Watts would put Rovers in front though in the 20th minute.
Ronan Finn’s cross from the right found Watts, the ball rebounded off Hoare to the number 7 and he fired into the net from 10 yards.
That had been coming with the early Rovers pressure however The Lilywhites responded in the best way possible.
Michael Duffy drilled a wonderful corner from the right to the back post where Jordan Flores was waiting and he caught it quite scrumptiously on the volley in what can only be described as a thunderbolt giving Mannus no chance in goal.
One of the goals of the season after his strike on Monday, he is having his own goal of the season competition.
It was almost 2-1 to Dundalk when Chris Shields fed Sean Gannon the right, he pulled it back for Cammy Smith. He showed clever, quick feet, before getting off a shot which was goalbound however it was blocked on the line by Lee Grace.
Shields was fouled in the next attack and Duffy took the free-kick…which forced a finger tip save from Mannus to keep things level.
Duffy and Massey combined on the left with the latter squaring for Smith however his shot was weak this time and easy for the goalkeeper.
Dundalk were on top pretty much after the Rovers goal however they did have a chance to go in front again on the stroke of half-time when Jack Byrne struck a free-kick from the edge of the area however it was nowhere near the target.
Rovers started the second half brightly and had Greene and McEneff fire wide with free-kicks.
Daniel Kelly’s introduction offered some width for the Lilywhites and he raided down the right side only to be stopped by Liam Scales as he was about to get through on goal.
He would make a telling contribution though just after the hour mark.
His through ball caught out Lopes and it found Hoban. His first touch was excellent and so was the second before he coolly chipped the ball over the on rushing Mannus to give us the lead.
Rovers responded and forced a goalmouth scramble where Rogers managed to somehow cling on to in the midst of a mass of bodies.
Greene looked as if he had levelled things for Rovers though when a cross from the right was nodded down by the forward and it looked like it was going to creep into the bottom corner but Boyle was there to clear off the line.
Lopes would atone for his earlier error with 20 minutes left on the watch. Byrne’s corner found the centre half and his header went past Rogers to the net.
It was Byrne who had the next opportunity when he cut in off the left and shot but it was just wide of the right hand post.
Byrne was to get his goal though when he picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashed a wonderful shot to the bottom left corner past Rogers.
Dundalk through bodies forward in search of an equaliser in the rain and Andy Boyle’s header goalwards in injury-time caused panic however the hosts were able to clear.
That was as close as we came and suffered our first defeat of the season.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Roberto Lopes, Joey O’Brien (Liam Scales 13), Lee Grace; Ronan Finn (capt), Greg Bolger, Jack Byrne, Dylan Watts (Rory Gaffney 62), Neil Farrugia; Aaron McEneff, Aaron Greene.
Substitutes not used: Leon Pohls (GK), Danny Lafferty, Sean Callan, Dean Williams, Brandon Kavanagh.
Booked: McEneff (39)
Sent off: None.
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields (capt), Greg Sloggett (Georgie Kelly 85); Cammy Smith (Will Patching 76), Jordan Flores (Daniel Kelly 58), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Stefan Colovic.
Booked: Shields (47), Flores (51), Hoban (53), Sloggett (75), Hoare (90)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Rob Hennessy