League Report: Shamrock Rovers 2 – 2 Derry City

Darragh Burns

Darragh Burns Credit: Thomas Flinkow (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium

Derry City led deep into injury time at Tallaght only for Markus Poom to rescue a point for Rovers with the spoils shared in a dramatic 2-2 draw in Dublin 24.

It looked like the visitors had laid down an early season marker with a win over the Hoops when sub Danny Mullen put them in the lead six minutes from time only for the Estonian international to head home a 93rd minute equaliser.

The result leaves Rovers remaining without a win so far this season with two points from the opening three games. The draw means that Derry City have fallen off the early season pace with Shelbourne at the top of the table.

City had won in Tallaght when the two teams faced one another last March, inflicting Rovers’ first league loss for 648 days, but they couldn’t do so this time around but it was oh so close.

Without their regular wing-backs due to Rovers’ extensive injury list, Stephen Bradley went with Markus Poom on the left and Darragh Burns on the right. Burns was probably Rovers best player in the opening half as he looked to take on Ronan Boyce at every occasion.

Ruaidhri Higgins had his own injury concerns with Jordan McEneff being drafted in after Will Patching, who was named in the starting XI, picked up an injury in the warm up.

Last Friday’s match in Tallaght had been lost to the weather. On Monday night the snow had been replaced by the rain that had fallien in Dublin 24 all afternoon. Thankfully the deluge stopped just before kick off but it made the surface very heavy.

Not ideal conditions for either team – both of whom are known to look to play the ball on the deck.

The home side had the best of the chances in the opening 45 and Aaron Greene came as close to opening the scoring after 13 minutes as possible.

Gary O’Neill, whose passing was on point all night despite the difficult conditions, played Greene in and his shot whizzed just by Brian Maher’s left hand post.

Derry didn’t really test Leon Pohls at the other end of the ground but it required a couple of timely blocks to prevent goal bound shots putting Pohls into action. Twice Boyce blasted the ball goalwards for no reward and Duffy also had one effort that didn’t test Pohls.

There was a shout for a penalty for the visitors on 25 minutes when Duffy went down in the box under a challenge from Burns following a fabulous ball to the back post by Adam O’Reilly.

When Gaffney headed a Burns cross back towards Greene, the Rovers supporters took to their feet but Greene couldn’t get enough power to head the ball by Maher.

Hoban was well shackled by Josh Honohan who lined out in the centre position of Rovers’ back three but with the trickery of Duffy and Paul McMullan on either flank it meant the Hoops defence needed to be on their toes throughout.

It looked like Duffy’s effort on 51 minutes would break the deadlock when Pohls flapped at a McMullan centre but the ball went over the bar. Just before the hour mark, Poom’s header off Burns’ cross forced Maher into a save.

A minute later Burns gave the Hoops the lead scoring his first Rovers goal as he raced onto Graham Burke’s through ball with his low shot beating Maher low to his right.

Duffy clattered a close range shot off the crossbar after great work by Doherty who battled to win the ball on 70 minutes.

A minute later City had a spot kick as Dylan Watts dangled a leg in the box with Hoban happy to go down. The Candystripes striker dispatched the resulting spot kick with power to his left with Pohls diving the other way.

The visitors pressed for the winner and looked to have found it six minutes from time as substitute Danny Mullen was on hand on bundle McMullan’s corner over the line ahead of Watts.

However, the Hoops weren’t about to suffer back-to-back defeats as Poom headed home a Burns centre from the right in the 93rd minute to end a dramatic second half.

Shamrock Rovers: Léon-Maurice Pöhls; Daniel Cleary, Joshua Honohan, Lee Grace ©; Darragh Burns, Gary O'Neill, Dylan Watts, Markus Poom; Graham Burke (Roberto Lopes 88), Rory Gaffney, Aaron Greene (Johnny Kenny 64).
Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Cian Barrett, Darragh Nugent, John O'Sullivan, Richard Towell, Conan Noonan, Cian Dillon.
Booked: Lee Grace (30), Rory Gaffney (45).

Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce (Daniel Kelly 65), Mark Connolly, Shane McEleney, Ben Doherty; Cameron McJannet, Jordan McEneff (Sam Todd 78), Adam O'Reilly,; Paul McMullan, Patrick Hoban (Ciarán Coll 88), Michael Duffy (Daniel Mullen 78).
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Luke O'Donnell, William Patching, Sean Patton.
Booked: Ben Doherty (90+3)

Referee: Damien MacGraith.
Attendance: 4,883
extratime.com Player of the Match: Darragh Burns (Shamrock Rovers)