The Irish Times - Sports Weekend
Rovers equal unbeaten record
Champions Shamrock Rovers equalled the all- time league r ecord of going 30 games without defeat as they defeated Finn Harps in a feisty affair at Finn Park.
This win extended t heir unbeaten run to eight games this season as they remain in joint top spot with St Patrick’s Athletic.
But they got lucky against plucky Finn Harps as t hey finally broke the deadlock in the 74th minute following a hot l y c ont e s t e d f r e e a nd goalkeeping error.
Harps boss Ollie Horgan was hopping on the bench when the f ree was given i n f avour of the Hoops, and subsequently goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley spilled the ball and Rory Gaffney pounced to put Rovers ahead.
Horgan’s protestations saw him banished t o t he stand shortly afterwards and Rovers then added a second through Sean Hoare who headed home to seal the issue on 80 minutes.
The visitors had an early penalty appeal for a challenge on Graham Burke ( who was booked) dismissed by referee Rob Hennessy.
While Rovers had the edge in the first quarter, they were u n a b l e t o s e r i o u s l y t e s t McGinley in the home goal – his main duties being to capably cut out crosses. Nevertheless, Harps went close to breaking the deadlock on 31 minutes when f ormer Rovers man Ethan Boyle whipped i n a delightful cross from the right f l ank but r ecent addition Johnny Dunleavy was unable to direct a glancing header on target from close range.
The game really began to open up early in the second half but both defences stood firm and one sensed a little bit of magic was required to break the deadlock.
But Rovers then struck with the two late goals to sink Harps.
FINNHARPS: MMcGinley; Boyle, Webster, Sadiki, Dunleavy; O’Sullivan ( Shanley 84mins), Coyle ( NMcGinley 84 mins), Seymour, Doherty ( Russell 64 mins); B McNamee ( Timlin 84 mins); Foley ( Owolabi 64 mins). SHAMROCKROVERS: Mannus; O’Brien ( Gannon 73 mins), Hoare, Grace; Finn, O’Neill, Watts, Scales; Burke ( Greene 64 mins), Mandroiu ( Nugent 83mins);
Gaffney ( Williams, 83 mins).
R Hennessy ( Limerick).