League Report: Shamrock Rovers 3 - 0 Sligo Rovers

Graham Burke scored his first of the season in his 200th appearance for the Hoops in all competitions

Graham Burke scored his first of the season in his 200th appearance for the Hoops in all competitions Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Patrick O’ Connor reports from Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers were in complete cruise control against Sligo Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night registering a very comfortable 3-0 win to pick up all three points and move into a top three in the table for the first time this season.

The Hoops had 66% of the possession and had 19 attempts on goal over the course of the 93 minutes of play and the only wonder is that the margin of victory was not greater, it could have been 4-0, 5-0 or even 6-0 on the night.

They completed dominated the Bit O’ Red from start to finish and never allowed the opposition any period of ascendancy. Only some desperate defending from the over worked Sligo Rovers defence and some excellent goal keeping by Ed McGinty kept the scoreline at a respectable three goal margin.

The visitors for their part had set up very defensively with a lone striker, Max Mata, up front on his own but even this formation did not trouble the home side. Apart from the opening 20 minutes, which was cagey and low intensity, the Hoops penetrated at will both through the middle and along both flanks.

Graham Burke was making his 200th appearance for Shamrock Rovers and he celebrated that milestone in style, scoring their opening goal in the 36th minute.

He received a pass on the edge of the box from Aaron Greene, shimmied to his left and unleashed a spectacular shot into the top right-hand corner of the net, his first goal for the club this season.

Darragh Burns almost made it 2-0 in the 40th minute when he curled a shot just wide of the post but it remained 1-0 at the break.

Any hopes of a revival for the visitors after the half time team talk were quashed in the 49th minute when the home side made it 2-0 through man of the match Greene. 

Fabrice Hartmann was disposed by a cluster of Shamrock Rovers players on the half way line, they worked the ball forward with Nugent feeding Greene. While the striker had a lot of work still to do, his pace and power took him past a few defenders before shooting, with the aid of a deflection, past McGinty.

Greene wrapped it up for Stephen Bradley’s side in the 63rd minute when he took a long pass from Markus Poom, raced from the left touchline leaving Charlie Wiggett in his wake and striking it past McGinty with his left foot.

Sligo Rovers did get a chance of a goal in the 90th minute but Leon Pöhls pulled off a great one handed save to deny them even that small consolation.

The Bit O’ Red have now had back-to-back 3-0 losses (beaten by St Patricks Athletic on Easter Monday) and while there won’t be any alarm bells ringing at the Showgrounds just yet, there will be some concern as they slip back into the bottom half of the table for the first time this season.

It was high fives all round at Tallaght Stadium however with results elsewhere very much helping their cause and they now occupy third place in the table on 15 points, only six behind leaders Shelbourne and the Hoops have a game in hand on the Reds.

Shamrock Rovers: Léon Pöhls; Daniel Cleary, Joshua Honohan (Cian Barrett 78), Pico; Graham Burke (Johnny Kenny 67), Darragh Nugent (Richard Towell 67), Gary O'Neill (Trevor Clarke 67), Markus Poom, Dylan Watts (Conan Noonan 69); Darragh Burns, Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Toms Leitis, Lee Steacy, Cory O'Sullivan, John O'Sullivan.
Booked: Gary O'Neill (14), Darragh Nugent (24), Graham Burke (45), Markus Poom (83), Richard Towell (88).

Sligo Rovers: Edward McGinty; Ollie Denham, Reece Hutchinson, Charlie Wiggett, John Ross Wilson; Ellis Chapman (Kailin Barlow, 76) William Fitzgerald (Rein Smit 75), Connor Malley, Niall Morahan; Fabrice Hartmann (Owen Elding 75), Max Mata (Wilson Waweru 75).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Kyle McDonagh, Conor Reynolds, Daire Patton, Stefan Radosavljević.
Booked: John Ross Wilson (56), Niall Morahan (72).

Referee: Kevin O'Sullivan.
Attendance: 6,059
extratime.com Player of the Match: Aaron Greene (Shamrock Rovers)