Details

Date Time League Season
21 August 2022 7:00 pm LOI Men's Premier Division 2022

Match Report

Rovers pull ahead in title race

Aaron Greene and Richie Towell's first-half goals helped Premier Division leaders Shamrock Rovers extend the gap atop the table to seven points, winning 3-0 against closest rivals Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium. 

The hosts made the brighter start and looked dangerous with their aerial deliveries, but twice found themselves stunned on the counter-attack. 

Rory Gaffney had acres of grass to advance into, speeding away from Rory McCourt's tactical foul attempt, before unselfishly releasing Greene across him to convert inside the area. 

McCourt was booked for his cynical challenge and later limped off with a foot injury in the first-half, as Dundalk's lack of depth on the bench meant a need to reshuffle the pack. 

Captain and creative midfielder Robbie Benson was shifted into a makeshift defensive position as a sacrifice, with Keith Ward coming on.

The lack of cohesion was clear shortly after the half-hour mark, as they conceded again - just moments after having John Martin's goal controversially disallowed for a foul in the build-up. 

From the resulting free-kick, Shamrock sped away and exploited Dundalk's gaping defensive line once more as Greene turned creator, producing a fantastic half-volleyed assist for Towell. 

He couldn't miss from close-range against his former side, and left the pitch to celebrate in-front of former supporters on an evening where the visitors would've felt hard done by. 

They were without top goalscorer Patrick Hoban through injury, while second-top marksman Daniel Kelly was also unavailable here.

It could've been a different game but for an inspired goalkeeping display by Alan Mannus, making multiple saves to repeatedly keep the visitors at bay.

Ward's free-kick was destined for the top corner before the 40-year-old clawed it away to safety, minutes before Rovers added a third.

A forceful sliding tackle in midfield saw the loose ball pounced upon by an accelerating Greene, who charged beyond his marker down the flank and fed Gaffney for another easy finish in transition and third breakaway goal of the evening.

Both players came off to a hero's reception with 20 minutes to play, clearly with one eye on their mission impossible second-leg tie (0-4 aggregate) against Ferencvaros this coming Thursday.

They'll need Mannus to produce more magic like he did here, acrobatically swatting away shots from Benson, substitute Joe Adams and more besides.

Ward and fellow sub David McMillan were also both denied elsewhere as time wore on, during an evening where Dundalk registered 17 shots - 12 on target - had 66% possession, left empty-handed and conceded three in a league game for the first time in a year.

Football's fine margins. Decisions didn't go their way, some preventable defensive breakdowns led to attacks and they paid the price for failing to rectify those mistakes - but contrastingly you saw how much it meant to Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley and the fans at full-time.

Seven points clear, having played a game less, they now have one hand on retaining their league title this term. After a horror start to the week, who knows what Thursday night will bring?

  • Football is a game of fine margins at the best of times and Dundalk now have to go unbeaten if they're to have any chance of a late title surge after this result. Hope you've enjoyed tonight's coverage, stay tuned for the full match report and more. Until next time, I've been Mosope Ominiyi, have a goodnight!

  • 93'

    FT: Shamrock Rovers 3-0 Dundalk. It's all over! The hosts needed to respond with a result and did just that, after successive league games without victory, ruthlessly punishing a side who had more possession (66%), more shots (17-12) and will feel hard done by at the full-time score. Mannus was immense in goal, Greene brilliant too.

  • 92'

    Tips past the post! Mannus is working hard for his clean sheet tonight, this time denying Adams' toe-poke finish.

  • 90'

    Ward, then McMillan, come close with efforts in the area but Mannus is equal to both - despite a shaky fumble with the first. Three minutes of stoppage-time to come now.

  • 82'

    Great save! Benson lets fly from the edge of the area, again Mannus is on hand to acrobatically swat the strike away and out for a corner. Nothing comes of it though.

  • 78'

    Shamrock defender Daniel Cleary goes down with a muscle injury and it makes no sense to risk him further, on comes Justin Ferizaj.

  • 76'

    Sheppard gets down low and saves well at his near post from a trickery Aidomo Emakhu run and shot at a tight angle.

  • 72'

    Dundalk's last alteration of the match coming now: John Mountney replacing Darragh Leahy as they look to stop the proverbial bleeding and finish this last quarter strong.

  • 69'

    Greene and Gaffney both coming off to a hero's reception for the hosts, deservedly so. Kavanagh and Emakhu replacing them.

  • 67'

    GOAL! ROVERS MAKE IT THREE! A sliding tackle sees the ball breakaway as Greene drives in transition once more, teeing up Gaffney to his right for another breakaway goal - a second assist!

  • 63'

    What a save! Dundalk won a free-kick in a dangerous position, Ward curled a well-struck effort towards the top corner but Mannus made a diving stop to keep his clean sheet intact!

  • 62'

    Dundalk opting for a double change now: Sloggett and Martin off, with McMillan and Adams coming on in their place.

  • 59'

    Shamrock making their first change of the evening now -- Neil Farrugia replacing Finn.

  • 54'

    Sheppard forced into another save, this time as Gaffney sets up O'Neil and the latter's effort is beaten away at point-blank range. O'Neil should probably have done better though.

  • 52'

    Bradley, unmarked and finding himself in space, tries his luck from distance... but watches as his well-struck effort swerves narrowly wide of the far post.

  • 46'

    Second-half is underway now and another Dundalk change: Runar Hauge replaces Ryan O'Kane at the break.

  • 48'

    HT: Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Dundalk. The hosts have defended well and capitalised on the counter-attack, in a first-half that could've easily been a two-goal deficit - it's been that sort of back-and-forth encounter so far.

  • 47'

    Dundalk cranking up their attacking pressure now: Sloggett has a shot saved from distance, then Mannus gets low at his near post to thwart Martin once more after a series of ricochets sees the ball find its way into him again.

  • 45'

    Three minutes of stoppage-time to be played, as Sheppard is rewarded for his bravery after charging off his line and denying an onrushing Greene in no man's land. His teammates have looked susceptible to these counter-attacks every time they lose possession in midfield and that's far from reassuring.

  • 40'

    Martin has been Dundalk's best player despite some infrequent service so far. He moves well and latches onto a defence-splitting pass, hitting a hopeful strike at a tight angle near the byline to force Mannus into action.

  • 37'

    Greene's receiving medical treatment and I get to rewatch that fantastic half-volleyed assist for Towell, who couldn't miss against his former side. Believe he was booked though, leaving the pitch to goad those former supporters.

  • 34'

    My pictures return to a frenzied scene: first John Martin has a goal disallowed for what the referee believes was a foul in the build-up. From that free-kick, Shamrock speed away and exploit Dundalk's defensive line once more.

  • 33'

    GOAL! Towell doubles Rovers lead within a flash, beautiful Greene assist!

  • 30'

    Temporary loss of pictures now, hopefully it'll return shortly.

  • 29'

    Sheppard equal to another Gaffney effort, this time an ambitious header from distance after Towell twists his way past one marker on the flank and whips a cross into the area.

  • 25'

    Dundalk forced into an early change and personnel shift: Keith Ward replacing the injured McCourt, while Benson has been shifted to a more defensive position too as a sacrifice.

  • 21'

    Gaffney's managed to do four kick-ups in the box... and get a shot off... but thankfully for Dundalk's defenders, their goalkeeper is equal to the eventual effort. McCourt has gone down just inside the box.

  • 15'

    Confirmation of the fact Robbie McCourt was booked for his cynical challenge attempt - which failed - in the build-up to stop the attack in its tracks. Would've given the referee a decision to make, had he actually fouled Gaffney.

  • 14'

    Dundalk made the brighter start and looked dangerous with their aerial deliveries, but have been stunned on the counter! Gaffney had acres of grass to advance into, speeding away from McCourt's tactical foul attempt, before unselfishly releasing Greene to finish across him inside the area.

  • 13'

    GOAL FOR SHAMROCK! GAFFNEY SETS UP GREENE ON THE COUNTER!

  • 12'

    Martin does well to wriggle free off a challenge and charges down the byline in the box, but no-one is in support available for the cutback as Shamrock clear their lines.

  • 9'

    Two offsides in quick succession incur the wrath of both managers, for what they believe has been a needlessly delayed reaction to stop play. Been that sort of start.

  • 6'

    Hoare makes an important intervention in mid-air, as Dundalk press intently and threaten a few dangerous balls into the box... Lewis overcooks a delivery directed for Benson, and a reprieve for Rovers.

  • 1'

    We're underway and Shamrock almost break the deadlock! Grace's lofted ball breaches the opposition backline feeding an alert Gaffney, who leans back and skews an effort wide after just 40 seconds.

  • The crowd at Tallaght is bouncing right now, players out of the tunnel and moments from kick-off.

  • Kick-off is just under 10 minutes away now, check my match preview in the article tab if you want some pre-match reading...

  • O'Donnell meanwhile, said this: "A win gets us closer to the top. It would close the gap but it's more about pitting your wits against a good team with good players, seeing where you're at. We're evolving and always need to be at our max, application-wise, to be competitive. This is another opportunity to grow and express themselves."

  • Shamrock Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley said this about the boisterous fan support pre-match: "The fans have been incredible for us all year, I've no doubt they've made the difference for us in certain games when we've been low, they've picked us up. Hopefully we get a massive crowd to help get three points."

  • As for their hosts, a trio of changes too including a recall for experienced midfielder Ronan Finn - who hasn't featured in their last two - back in the starting eleven.

  • Three changes for Dundalk: John Martin, Robbie McCourt and Robbie Benson all recalled to the starting XI for Stephen O'Donnell's side tonight. Patrick Hoban misses out through injury, while Andy Boyle is suspended.

  • Without further ado though, team news is filtering through. Check the line-ups tab for it now!

  • My name is Mosope Ominiyi and I'll be taking you through the evening's play-by-play action, in a big clash for both sides...

  • Good evening everyone and welcome to tonight's live commentary, as Premier Division leaders Shamrock Rovers play host to their closest league rivals Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium. Kick-off is set for 7pm.

Shamrock Rovers

1Alan Mannus Goalkeeper
3Sean Hoare Defender
22Andy Lyons Defender
5Lee Grace Defender
6Daniel Cleary 21 Defender
7Dylan Watts 29 Midfielder
8Ronan Finn Midfielder
16Gary O’Neill 23 Midfielder
17Richie Towell Midfielder 33'
34'
9Aaron Greene 11 Forward 13'
20Rory Gaffney 38 Forward 67'
25Leon Pohls Goalkeeper
2Sean Gannon Defender
11Sean Kavanagh 9 Defender
21Justin Ferizaj 6 Midfielder
23Neil Farrugia 16 Midfielder
29Jack Byrne 7 Midfielder
38Aidomo Emakhu 20 Midfielder
28Gideon Tetteh Forward

Dundalk

1Nathan Sheppard Goalkeeper
2Lewis Macari Defender
6Sam Bone Defender
18Robbie McCourt 17 Defender 14'
15Darragh Leahy 23 Defender
5Alfie Lewis Midfielder
8Robbie Benson Midfielder
10Greg Sloggett 20 Midfielder
16Steven Bradley Midfielder
11John Martin 29 Forward
28Ryan O’Kane 22 Forward
30Mark Byrne Goalkeeper
14Peter Cherrie Goalkeeper
20Joe Adams 10 Midfielder 88'
17Keith Ward 18 Midfielder
23John Mountney 15 Midfielder
29David McMillan 11 Forward
22Runar Hauge 28 Midfielder

Past Meetings

(Round 20)
1 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Round 11)
1 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Round 6)
0 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 30)
1 - 0
LOI Men's Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 19)
3 - 1
LOI Men's Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Series 12)
2 - 1
LOI Men's Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 3)
2 - 1
LOI Men's Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(President's Cup)
1 - 1
President's Cup
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Final)
2 - 4
FAI Cup
Aviva Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

(Series 13)
0 - 4
LOI Men's Premier Division
Casey's Field (Oriel Park)

Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 4)
3 - 2
LOI Men's Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Dundalk

Ground

Tallaght Stadium
Tallaght Stadium, Whitestown Way, Tallaght, Dublin 24, D24 XC9W

Mosope Ominiyi is a freelance sports journalist and sub-editor with over a decade's worth of experience, having graduated in 2020 with a BA Hons degree at Staffordshire University. His work has appeared in The Times, MailOnline and Sportskeeda, among other platforms.