League Report: Shamrock Rovers 2 – 0 Dundalk

Aaron Greene grabbed a brace of goals for the Hoops as Rovers returned to the top of the table

Aaron Greene grabbed a brace of goals for the Hoops as Rovers returned to the top of the table Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Rónán MacNamara reports from Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers returned to the top of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division with a comfortable 2-0 win over Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium to start their Bank Holiday weekend.

The dubious goals committee will have to cast an eye on Aaron Greene’s first goal after half an hour as his close range effort appeared to be going wide before rebounding off the legs of the unfortunate Nathan Shepperd in the Dundalk goal.

There was no doubt over his second strike though as he latched on to a brilliant Rory Gaffney pass, took the ball around Shepperd and tapped home, ten minutes after Rovers were reduced to ten men.

Ronan Finn was sent off against his former club after an hour for a blatant professional foul on Rayhaan Tulloch on the edge of the box leaving Paul McLaughlin no choice but to brandish Rovers’ fourth red card in two games.

It was a killer for Stephen O’Donnell’s side to concede on the counter attack a little after and Dundalk ran out of ideas towards the end, firing wild efforts on goal without putting Leon Pohls to work.

It’s one point from a possible dozen for the Lilywhites while Rovers arrested a run of back-to-back defeats – the first time this had happened for the Hoops since 2019.

Dundalk started well and Archie Daiers should have done better in the fourth minute after a well worked Darragh Leahy corner saw him arrive late at the back post but put his header into the ground with Finn touching behind off his head.

Stephen Bradley’s side shifted through the gears and might have been a goal up had it not been for the brilliant Shepperd who denied Greene and Poom as Rovers varied their play from long diagonals to decisive passing.

The goal wasn’t long coming after that and Finn crossed for Greene to turn home from inside the six-yard area via a Shepperd deflection.

Dundalk looked to have run out of ideas but they were handed a lifeline five minutes after the interval as Finn was dismissed for a foul on Tulloch who pounced on a loose Pico Lopes pass.

It was the hosts who responded better and Greene made sure the second goal would definitely be chalked down in his name after he was played in behind by Gaffney before rounding Shepperd.

He was denied a hat trick moments later after Dan Cleary’s diagonal ball bisected Davies and Hayden Muller but Shepperd saved with his legs.

The ten men of Rovers retreated into their shells in the closing stages and while Dundalk huffed and puffed they were unable to muster a goal and ended the game with just two shots on target.

Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Daniel Cleary, Ronan Finn, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh (Sean Gannon 62), Pico; Jack Byrne (Liam Burt 75), Gary O'Neill, Markus Poom; Rory Gaffney (Darragh Nugent 75), Aaron Greene (Kieran Cruise 86).
Subs not used: Toms Leitis, Gideon Tetteh, Justin Ferizaj, Graham Burke, Conan Noonan.
Booked: Sean Kavanagh (58), Sean Gannon (71).
Sent off: Ronan Finn (49).

Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Andy Boyle, Archie Davies, Darragh Leahy, Hayden Muller (Cameron Elliott 70); Paul Doyle (Alfie Lewis 62), Daniel Kelly (Ryan O'Kane 70), Connor Malley, Greg Sloggett (Keith Ward 62), Rayhaan Tulloch; Patrick Hoban.
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Wasiri Williams, Louie Annesley, Johannes Yli-Kokko, John Martin.
Booked: None.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Attendance: 5,602
extratime.com Player of the Match: Aaron Greene (Shamrock Rovers)