With Friday’s Dublin Derby taking place on the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the patron saint of Ireland’s honours went to ...Sat, Mar 17 2018
Shamrock Rovers' season kicked into gear in spectacular fashion as they racked up the biggest win of the Stephen Bradley era at home to Bray Wanderers at a snowswept Tallaght Stadium.
Brandon Miele hit a double to add to goals from Graham Burke and Dave McAllister, while Dan Carr and Sean Kavanagh were also on target on their full Rovers debuts as the Hoops ran out 6-0 winners.
The visitors were abject from start to finish and, having set up to contain their more illustrious hosts, they lost their shape as Rovers hit the back of the net five times in the second half.
The irony was that, for the first 20 minutes or so, the Seagulls' negative gameplan seemed to be reaping similar dividends to the creditable scoreless draw in Dundalk on the opening night.
The Hoops were dominant in possession but, with Dave Mackey's side set up with ten men in their own half of the field, they struggled to make many positive inroads.
Rovers' greatest attacking threat came down the left, where Trevor Clarke was overlapping at will on his first appearance of the season, having missed the first two games with suspension.
He linked up well with Kavanagh, starting for the first time since signing from Fulham after impressing off the bench on Friday, and Bray's Wolves loanee Dan McKenna was reduced to petty fouls on a number of occasions.
The first chance of the game came down that flank but it was striker Carr who, after exchanging passes with Kavanagh, cut inside on his right foot only to see his shot spin away from the far post.
Burke had a similar opportunity from the opposite side flash wide of the post, while Burke and Miele both saw free kicks from the edge of the box slam into the wall.
When the goal came, it was a thing of rare beauty, Kavanagh controlling Ally Gilchrist's long ball into Burke's path, and the former Aston Villa trainee looped his shot in off the bar from 25 yards.
Bray did come into the came as half time approached, with both Corey Galvin and Gary McCabe seeing shots from distance saved, but it was an all-too-rare flash in the pan from the visitors.
Rovers hit another gear after the break and there were less than two minutes on the clock when Miele made it two, side-footing home from close range after Burke had released Kavanagh down the rght.
McAllister made it three just after the hour following great work on the left from Carr. The striker turned a defender and stood up an inviting cross for the midfielder to head powerfully past Aaron Dillon.
The Englishman was on the scoresheet himself two minutes later, Trevor Clarke's pass cutting apart the Bray defence before Carr rounded the keeper and coolly finished from a tight angle.
Just four minutes later, Kavanagh made it five as he lined up a free kick just outside the D and smashed it past the hapless Blackburn Rovers loanee Diillon.
Sean Boyd replaced the popular Carr for the final quarter and he created the sixth and final goal with a good run down the left before teeing up Miele for a simple finish.
Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Ally Gilchrist, Trevor Clarke (Joel Coustrain 73); Sam Bone, David McAllister, Brandon Miele,ean Kavanagh, Graham Burke (Aaron Bolger 64); Dan Carr (Sean Boyd 68).
Subs not used: Tomer Chencinski (gk), Luke Byrne, Roberto Lopes, Gary Shaw.
Booked: Trevor Clarke (18).
Bray Wanderers: Aaron Dillon; Dan McKenna, Hugh Douglas, Sean Heaney (Conor Kenna 80), Kevin Lynch; Paul O'Conor (John Sullivan 63), Darragh Noone, Gary McCabe; Ronan Coughlan, Cory Galvin (Ger Pender 60), Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Evan Moran (gk), Rhys Gorman, Daniel Kelly, Jake Kelly.
Booked: Daniel McKenna (25), Ronan Coughlan (66).
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Clare).
Attendance: 1,525 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Dan Carr (Shamrock Rovers).