Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium
The 3-1 win for Shamrock Rovers over Athlone Town on Saturday afternoon moved the Hoops young side within a point of the Midlanders who are in eighth place in the First Division table.
In their final home game of the season, Rovers came from behind after Ciaran Grogan’s goal, to claim all three points thanks to a goal from Brandon Kavanagh either side of strikes from Thomas Oluwa.
With COVID-19 causing the postponement of Rovers’ next three Premier Division games, first team squad member Sean Kavanagh retained his place in Aidan Price’s team having played against Bray last weekend. This was the third time this season that Price brought his one allowed overage outfield player into his squad.
Aaron Myles was called into the action early to come off his line to save Athlone when Thomas Oluwa showed some great pace to get in on goal on four minutes. Myles stood up well and saved Oluwa’s effort with his chest.
The visitors having wasted their first corner kick – Ronan Manning hitting Sean Kavanagh at the front post – made no mistake with their second on 19 minutes. This time Manning played the ball right into the danger area and Grogan rose highest to head home the opener.
Dean George’s drilled shot on 25 minutes almost doubled the Midlanders lead but his effort was well saved by Alex Moody and Rovers then found an equaliser four minutes later. Dean Williams had gone close a few minutes before and then Brandon Kavanagh provided the assist for Oluwa having taken the ball down he neatly played a pass into his striking partner who calmly slotted home with his left.
Athlone captain Scott Delaney went close with a header off another corner kick but it was Rovers II who struck next taking a one goal lead into the half-time break. Brandon Kavanagh’s drilled the Myles from the edge of the area with his right foot five minutes from half time for his ninth goal in the First Division this season.
Oluwa got his second of the game a minute before the hour mark as he showed great strength to hold off the Athlone Town skipper Delaney before sweeping a left foot effort into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Alex Moody was able to have a quiet enough second half although he could only watch David Brookes’ effort from distance come back off the corner of the cross bar and post. He was required to pull off a great save from Dean Manning in injury time but by that time the three points were wrapped up.
Prior to that his opposite number had been busy in the second period saving from Dean McMenamy, Michael Leddy and Dean Williams as Rovers were wasteful in front of goal but they had done enough to get their third home win of the season.
Shamrock Rovers II: Alex Moody; Sam Curtis, Cole Omorehioman, Adam Wells; Max Murphy, Brandon Kavanagh (Kevin Zefi 78), Darragh Nugent ©, Aaron Bolger (Dean McMenamy 55), Sean Kavanagh (John Ryan 66); Thomas Oluwa (Michael Leddy 66), Dean Williams (Aidomo Emakhu 78).
Subs not used: Kian Clarke (gk), Jordan Tallon.
Booked: Brandon Kavanagh (34), Dean McMenamy (84).
Athlone Town: Aaron Myles; David Brookes, Ciaran Grogan, Scott Delaney ©, Taner Dogan (Evan White 69); Adam Lennon (Bradley Okaidja 53), Mark Birrane (Isreal Kimazo 88), Ronan Manning, Tumelo Tlou (Jordan Carroll 89), Jack Reynolds; Dean George,
Subs not used: Paddy Martin, Shane Nealon, John Morgan.
Booked: Mark Birrane (86).
Referee: Declan Toland
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Thomas Oluwa (Shamrock Rovers)