Date: 4 p.m. July 11, 2010
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
This was a daunting display by the home side who thoroughly outperformed a Dundalk side that opened brightly but wilted in the face of energetic and imaginative Rovers play from all quarters of the field.
The first chance in the game fell to the visitors when Paddy Kavanagh fouled Stephen Maher on the edge of the box and Ross Gaynor cracked the free kick off the angle of the post and crossbar with Alan Manus well beaten.
But Rovers responded through the unlikely figure of Craig Sives who caught the ball with a perfect volley from twenty yards out in the 11th minute. Only a spectacular, one handed, diving save from Matt Gregg kept the sides level.
Moments later Thomas Stewart played in Gary Twigg but the Scotsman, one-on-one with ‘Gregg, blasted his shot straight at the ‘keeper. Twigg had another chance after 17 minutes when he took up a Chris Turner through ball and ran at the Dundalk defence. He out-stripped Stephen McDonnell, turned inside Wayne Hatswell but drove his shot into the midriff of the diving Gregg.
Twigg had yet another effort cleared off the line by Wayne Hatswell as Rovers domination began to become overpowering but their incessant pressure reaped it’s reward on the half hour mark. A Craig Sives throw was diverted into Chamber’s path by Hatswell and with the goal opening up in front of him he drove his shot past Gregg and into the Dundalk net.
Five minutes later Rovers were two up when a Paddy Kavanagh corner found the head of Gary Twigg at the far post and straight from the tip off Rovers made it three. Alan Cawley lost possession and Stewart played Twigg in through the left channel from where he whipped a shot past Gregg and into the far corner.
Rovers might have added to their tally before half time as Gregg saved from both Sives and Dan Murray and Thomas Stewart also chipped agonisingly wide of Gregg’s left hand post.
It took fifteen minutes of second half play for Rovers to get their fourth and it was Chambers who scored it, piling a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle on the right.
With the result beyond any reasonable doubt there were a flurry of substitutions and it was perhaps inevitable that the Rovers performance lost some of its edge. They continued to pass and move with considerable flair, offering the occasional threat to Matt Gregg’s goal, but their work for the afternoon had been completed long before referee Dave McKeon blew the full time whistle.
Dundalk had their chances in the dying minutes, Neale Fenn dropping a weak free kick into Manus’s arms and Stephen Maher blasting over from a Michael McGowan cross weakly but at the end 3,309 happy Hoops fans wandered off into the Tallaght twilight to further indulge themselves with the less weighty matter of the 2010 World Cup Final.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Manus; Craig Sives, Dan Murray, Aidan Price, Enda Stevens; Paddy Kavanagh (Sean O’Connor, 64), Stephen Rice (Robert Bayly, 72), Chris Turner, James Chambers; Gary Twigg (Graham Barrett, 69), Thomas Stewart.
?Subs not used: Robert Duggan, Danny Murphy.
Dundalk: Matt Gregg; Shaun Kelly, Wayne Hatswell, Nathan Murphy (Ciaran McGuigan, HT), Stephen McDonnell; Alan Cawley, Stephen Maher, Tom Miller; Tiernan Mulvenna (Michael McGowan, 58), Neale Fenn, Ross Gaynor.
?Subs not used: Michael Synnott, Johnny Breen, Mark Griffen.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: James Chambers.
Referee: Dave McKeon