Leinster Senior Cup Report: Shamrock Rovers 2 - 0 Longford Town
Andrew Dempsey reports from Roadstone
Youthful Shamrock Rovers downed Longford Town 2-0 in their first Leinster Senior Cup Group B clash at Roadstone on Monday night.
Matthew Britton and Cian Dillon both netted for the hosts.
And the Hoops, who lined out with their under-19s as Tony Cousins took charge, were full value for their victory over the First Division side.
True to form, Rovers started the better of the two and were ahead inside just eight minutes of the game.
Moments before their opener, Cian O’Sullivan linked up well with Britton but Longford Town keeper Jack Brady did well to smother the danger to stop the teenager getting a shot away on goal.
But it was a warning that Town failed to heed as Britton pounced in the eighth minute.
Son of former Shamrock Rovers player Matt, the attacker was unmarked at the edge of the Red and Black’s penalty area before slotting into the net.
It was a goal that the Hoops deserved and they could have had another soon after through Dillon but Brady was alert to save well.
Longford, who were led on the sideline by assistant boss Gavin Peers in Stephen Henderson’s absence, eventually awoke from their early slumber but were limited as an attacking force.
The closest they came to levelling was through Chris Lyons as the former Bray Wanderers striker saw his free-kick batted away from goal by Tom Leitis.
But Rovers were a threat and should have doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Britton almost rounded Brady.
While trying to do so, the youngster was denied by a combination of stoic defending from Brady and Dean O’Shea as Longford scrambled clear.
New recruit from Bluebell United Vasyl Tropanets cracked a low effort on goal wide just past the half hour mark before Lyons then saw an effort on goal blocked on the edge of the area that Leitis claimed well.
For all of Longford's effort to get back into the game, they should have been further behind before the half-time break.
They were first denied by a superb Brady save six minutes before the interval while John O’Sullivan then headed wide from close range in the 43rd minute.
Buoyed by the introduction of Francis Campbell off the bench, Longford enjoyed their best spell of the game in the early stages of the second half.
The former Shelbourne youth did well down the right flank to find Lyons - but the ex-Seagull could not sort his feet out quick enough to get an effort away on goal to trouble Leitis.
Campbell then found fellow substitute Guilherme Rego Priosti who rose highest to meet a cross into the box, but Leitis got down well to save.
And as Rovers cleared the danger, they punished De Town on the counter attack by doubling their lead.
Dillon, who impressed all night long with a powerful display up front, was played in by a pinpoint through ball.
He then made no mistake as he rounded Brady with ease to put the gloss on a superb win for the young Hoops.
In fact, Rovers could have stretched their lead even more soon after.
Dillon went closest by hedging over from close range while Tristan Donnelly cracked a long range effort just wide.
Longford also had chances to at least half the deficit as Campbell forced smart saves from Leitis - as did Dean George - but neither managed to especially trouble the hosts.
But Rovers were deserving winners and even a late penalty shout - which may have been given for a foul on Campbell - would have been nothing but a scant consolation.
The defeat means De Town have not won a Leinster Senior Cup tie since May 2018, when they beat UCD 2-1 at the Belfield Bowl.
But they do still have a chance of qualifying for the next round with ties against Athlone Town and Maynooth University Town to come.
Shamrock Rovers can qualify for the next round if they defeat Maynooth next week.
Shamrock Rovers: Tom Leitis; James Roche, Danny Mare, Kian Dignam, Jonathan Kehir (Barry Kealy, 80); Tristan Donnelly (Eric Kouife, 86), John O’Sullivan; Ryan Ritchie (Zach Reddy, 80), Matthew Britton (Darragh Marshall, 66), Cory O’Sullivan; Cian Dillon.
Subs not used: Edvinas Jakas, Charles Akrimrintoyo, Harry Murray.
Booked: Matthew Britton (41), Cian Dillon (56).
Longford Town: Jack Brady; Karl Chambers, Oisin Hand, Dean O’Shea, Kyle O’Connor (Dean George, 63); Conor Crowley, Sami Clarke, Ross Fay; Callum Bonner (Guillherme Rego Prioste, 46), Chris Lyons (Luke Wade-Slater, 70), Vasyl Tropanets (Francis Campbell, 46).
Subs not used: Jack Harrington, Shane Elworthy, Adam Wixted.
Booked: Karl Chambers (56).
Referee: Robert Dowling.
Attendance: 150 (Estimate).
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Cian Dillon (Shamrock Rovers).