Shamrock Rovers ran out 3-0 winners against basement side Bray Wanderers on Monday night in Tallaght.
The hosts, in search of European football, made the more positive start. Danny Ledwith broke from deep down the left flank and presented a chance for Karl Sheppard, but the striker floated his header well wide.
Billy Dennehy and Richie Ryan saw efforts saved and wide as the pressure on the Bray goal intensified. That pressure eventually resulted in the opener on 26 minutes, Shane Redmond parried a Dennehy shot into the path of Mark Quigley who finished into an empty net.
The game had a familiar feel to the 7-0 rout earlier in the season, but Pat Deviln will be somewhat pleased that his side didn’t capitulate in similar circumstances.
Ronan Finn blazed an effort wide just before the break, having navigated into a good shooting position while Ken Oman headed over just on the half-time whistle.
Unlike the first-half, Rovers needed only seven minutes to double their lead, a sublime solo effort from Karl Sheppard. Capitalising on a long ball over the top, Sheppard’s first touch left him in plenty of space to catch a brilliant goal on the volley.
Jason Byrne was brought on to replace lone striker Akinade who saw little action isolated in front of the Rovers goal, the veteran striker was greeted with a chorus of boos.
Sheppard sealed his brace five minutes from time, his first effort was re-bounded to him by the Bray keeper and he made no mistake from the second effort.
With time ticking down Sheppard had chance to turn provider when a mistake in the Bray back four let him down the right side but a quick ball across was too fast for team mate Ronan Finn to finish.
Despite netting three, Trevor Croly will feel his side, given the amount of possession they had, should have scored more. They were guilty of poor finishing on a number of occasions, but they took a major step towards their goal of a top four finish.
Bray on the other hand are staring relegation in the face, with Shels moving off the bottom, albeit on goal difference, the Seagulls cannot afford to drop more points and the games don’t get any easier as they host Limerick next.
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush; Conor McCormack, Ken Oman, Jason McGuiness, Daniel Ledwith; Ronan Finn, Richie Ryan (Shane Robinson 88), Stephen Rice, Mark Quigley (Gary McCabe 69), Billy Dennehy (Sean O’Connor 61); Karl Sheppard.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy; Pat Sullivan, Derek Foran; Thomas Stewart.
Booked: Oman (22), McCormack (48), McCabe (90).
Bray Wanderers: Shane Redmond; Shane O’Connor, Danny O’Connor, Adam Mitchell, Conor Early (Kevin Knight 70); Dean Zambra, Kevin Maher, Gary Dempsey (Jason Byrne 70), Kieran Marty Waters; Ismahil Akinade, John Mulroy (Daire Doyle 80).
Subs not used: Stephen McGuiness, Nial Cooney, Eoin Hyland, Ryan Coombes.
Referee: Derek Tomney
ExtraTime Man of the Match: Karl Sheppard (Shamrock Rovers).