Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
The Hoops put their Bohs hoodoo behind them as they dug out their first Dublin Derby win over the Gyspies since May 2017.
Graham Burke scored the winner, in front of a record 7,021 attendance for a League of Ireland game in Tallaght Stadium, as Rovers put an end to a run of seven defeats and a draw from the most recent derbies against Bohs.
In the three wins for Keith Long’s men this season in the derby, the referee has been central to the plot dishing out penalties and red cards but ref Rob Harvey allowed this game to flow and while it might not have had the drama of the other derbies, it was very much a tense encounter.
The Hoops certainly had the better of the first half and took a deserved half time lead into the break.
Unsurprisingly Bohs pressed Rovers hard in the match and Stephen Bradley’s team played their usual passing game. It was from one of those patient moves that they grabbed the only goal of the game.
Burke speaking ahead of the match talked about how he was looking to hit the “great heights” of his last spell at Rovers – he scored 13 goals in the 22 games he played for the Hoops in the 2018 season.
He showed some height to head home his goal on 27 minutes, his second goal in two games. It was a header that would earn his sixth win from the six games he has played since rejoining Rovers on loan from Preston North End.
Aaron McEneff spread the ball wide to Sean Kavanagh and his left foot delivery was inviting for Burke to get up between James Finnerty and Darragh Leahy to head home.
In the second half, Bohs were the brighter team, buoyed by a strong breeze at their backs, as Rovers receeded into their shells.
The Hoops needed an amazing double goal line clearance from Burke as he cleared a Darragh Leahy header off the line before bravely getting his head on Rob Cornwall’s follow up shot.
Rovers did have some chances mainly on the break but never really gave James Talbot too much trouble. As the clock ticked to 90 minutes and beyond, the home team were happy to take the sting out of the game.
The win made it ten games unbeaten for the Hoops domestically but for their celebrating fans it was all about getting their first win in the derby against Bohs in nine matches.
The win all but cements runners up spot for Rovers who move 15 points clear of third placed Bohs with just six league games remaining – with a FAI Cup quarter-final to come next Friday in Galway.
For Bohs, they will take heart from their battling second half performance, and they remain in the automatic position for European qualification – two points clear of Derry City.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Ronan Finn © (Danny Lafferty 78), Gary O'Neill, Aaron McEneff, Jack Byrne (Brandon Kavanagh 87), Graham Burke (Greg Bolger 66), Sean Kavanagh; Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk), Ethan Boyle,Sean Callan, Graham Cummins
Booked: Ronan Finn (23), Joey O’Brien (58), Alan Mannus (90+2).
Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender, Rob Cornwall, James Finnerty, Darragh Leahy; Keith Buckley, Conor Levingston (Keith Ward 87), Daniel Mandroiu, Danny Grant, Ross Tierney (Luke Wade-Slater 58); Andre Wright.
Subs not used: Scott Allardice, Andy Lyons, Aaron Barry, Michael Kelly, Ryan Swan.
Booked: Andre Wright (41)
Referee: Robert Hennessy
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers).