From Macdara Ferris at Tallaght Stadium
With a three decade drought of FAI Cup wins nobody at Shamrock Rovers will be getting too carried away with their 1-0 First Round win over non-league Glenville at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
However, the Hoops have made the first step on a journey that they hope will lead them up the steps of the Aviva Stadium to collect the trophy they have won a record 24 times.
Rovers dominated the game but could only score once with Graham Burke’s 13th minute strike, enough to see them through to the next round which will take place at the end of this month.
Stephen Bradley played a strong team against the Leinster Senior League side, even with four changes from the starting line up that beat Cork City in last Monday’s EA Sports Cup semi-final.
However the Hoops Head Coach did switch formations with Lee Grace having the central role in a three man defence as Bradley looked to bring more width higher up the pitch.
Glenville ‘keeper Patrick Whelan was the busiest man on the pitch all night. In the opening ten minutes he was twice called into action. Michael O’Connor’s neat turn and pass allowed Gary Shaw to direct the ball goalwards only for Whelan to save before a few minutes later a challenge by Shaw on the ‘keeper saw the ball fall to Burke, whose effort was saved by Whelan.
It took 13 minutes for Rovers to unlock the Glenville defence. It came from a short corner won by Simon Madden. Burke and Ronan Finn worked it with Finn’s shot coming back out to Dean Carpenter.
While the defender, making his first start for Rovers, had his shot was saved by Whelan, the ball fell nicely to Burke who rifled home from wide on the right hand side of the six yard box with his left foot.
Referee Sean Grant was quick to get his yellow cards out with both Derek Doyle and then Jason Hegarty going in the book for fouls on Trevor Clarke in the first half.
It meant when Carpenter took down Ryan Hughes just before the half hour mark, he also got a yellow card. It gave Doyle a chance to shoot at the Rovers goal but while his effort from the free kick beat the wall, it also cleared the bar without troubling Tomer Chencinski.
O’Connor twice went close at the other end; First with a chip from the edge of the area that just drifted wide of the frame of the goal before Ciaran McDonnell did well to put him off a header after Gary Shaw got around Conor Moore to cross.
Shaw somehow managed to mis-hit Clarke’s cross from the left with the goal at his mercy just before the break and couldn’t slot away a shot in first half injury time from a Burke cross.
It was a frantic opening couple of minutes after the restart with chances at either end.
Firstly Finn really should have doubled his team’s lead but he couldn’t convert the centre from Burke. Chencinski was almost caught out of the Rovers goal like he was last Friday against Derry City.
Coming out of his box to head clear, the ball fell to Robert Murtagh but his effort was blocked by Carpenter before O’Connor blazed over the bar at the other end.
Whelan was out well to save when O’Connor gave Shaw a run in on goal and within 60 seconds he was down low to his left to save from O’Connor. When Clarke, like Shaw, was in a one-on-one situation on 54 minutes Whelan couldn’t save but Clarke cleared the bar with his effort.
The ‘keeper was incredibly busy with Rovers winning six second half corners. The Hoops piled on the pressure but couldn’t add anything to the scoreboard. Whelan pulled off a top class save on the hour mark putting O’Connor’s driven shot from distance behind for a corner before saving from Bourke moments later.
Hoops substitute Sean Boyd had the ball in the net with a minute to go only for it to be correctly ruled out for offside before he went in the book for a foul on Robert Murtagh a minute later. Whelan pulled off one last save in injury time from a Finn shot from distance.
Glenville can be proud of their battling performance in a game that they probably felt was like their cup final but it is Rovers that deservedly go through to the second round draw at the expense of the Leinster Senior League side.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; Dave Webster, Lee Grace, Dean Carpenter; Simon Madden, Ronan Finn, Aaron Bolger, Graham Burke, Trevor Clarke (James Doona 64); Gary Shaw (Dean Dillon 64), Michael O’Connor (Sean Boyd 88).
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan (gk), Ryan Connolly, Cian Collins, Brandon Miele.
Booked: Dean Carpenter (29).
Glenville: Patrick Whelan; Dylan Nolan, Conor Moore, Ciaran McDonnell, Ryan Hughes (Ross Healy 78); Jason Hegarty, Philip Duffy, Sean McGrane, Robert Murtagh; Derek Doyle (Emmet O’Brien 85); Donal Gilmar (Rory Kelly 74).
Subs Not Used: Mark McDonagh, Keith Duffy, Glen O’Connor, Rafa de Santos.
Booked: Derek Doyle (9), Jason Hegarty (22), Philip Duffy (57), Sean McGrane (75).
Referee: Sean Grant
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Patrick Whelan (Glenville).