Date: 8 p.m. Feb. 7, 2011
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
In a very open game, Rovers created many chances but were made to rue their misses as two goals in three minutes from ex-Waterford United striker Daryl Murphy and ex-Bohemians loanee Graham Carey sealed a 2-0 win for the visitors.
Dublin-born Carey had the first chance of the game but his strike, from a Freddie Ljungberg pass, was easily saved by Alan Mannus in the Rovers goal. A quick counter from Rovers saw Twigg find Dennehy wide on the left, he crossed for Kilduff for Dom Cervi saved.
Minutes later Kilduff fed McCabe down the right but his strike on his weaker left foot was easily saved. Celtic trialist Julian Baudet, impressive thoughout, lost possession on the edge of his penalty box but Billy Dennehy fired narrowly over Cerni’s crossbar.
The deadlock should have been broken soon after with Ciaran Kilduff failing to score after a Dennehy left wing cross. Alan Mannus ensured a scoreless first half with smart saves from Murphy and a defleted piledriver from Carey.
McCabe fed Pat Sullivan minuted after the restart but his low strike was saved at the front post. The opening goal of the game arrived after 55 minutes. Full back Steven O’Donnell played a superb cross field ball to Philip Twardsick wide on the left, his cross was flicked on by Kieran Brennan allowing Murphy to control smartly before firing past Mannus.
The lead was doubled just three minutes later as goalscorer Murphy found Ljungberg on the edge of the penalty area. He controlled before sliding the ball through to Graham Carey to finish first time low past Mannus.
The substitutions began to come think and fast and Rovers had the better of the remaining time. Chris Turner had a good chance to reduce the deficit but his powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area was saved by Cerni.
Rovers trialist Akeem Pristley impressed after his introduction and looked set to grab a goal as he races in on goal before being sent tumbling by a rash challenge from keeper Cerni outside the penalty. Referee Damien Hancock produced just a yellow card.
Paddy Kavanagh had Rovers last chance as he cut in from the right but fired his left foot strike wide of Cerni’s goal.
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Sullivan, Flynn, Murray (Murphy 61’), McCormack; McCabe (Pristley 61’), Rice (Turner HT), O'Donnell, Dennehy (Kavanagh 61’); Kilduff (Sheppard HT), Twigg (Kelly 61’).
Celtic: Cervi; O'Donnell, Loovens (Hughes 66’), Baudet, P. Twardzick (Church 66’); Carey, Crosas (Gormley 80’), Juarez (P. Twardzick 66’),Brennan; Murphy, Ljungberg (McGregor 80’).
Referee: Damien Hancock
Man of the Match: Graham Carey – Worked tirelessly all night and grabbed a goal.