It may not have been a classic match, but that shouldn't bother Rovers fans as a sole Karl Sheppard goal just before half time gave them the win over arch-rivals Bohemians.
Early chances for Anto Flood and Killian Brennan came to nothing for Bohs. Ronan Finn, Rovers' main creative player, had a shot saved and belted clear on ten minutes, but neither side were truly able to put their stamp on the match. A first half high in intensity yielded little in the way of clear chances for either side until after the half-hour mark.
Pat Sullivan had a chance with just under a half an hour played when, after a string of passes down the Bohs right wing, he shot just over in a central position from about 30 yards out. After the half hour mark, Rovers at last had a spell where they dominated play. A Rovers corner led to a scramble in the Bohs box after 31 minutes, but Craig Sives' eventual shot was deflected away. Bohs almost capitalised on their opponents' new-found attacking play a minute later, when a low ball into the box by Anto Flood just missed the feet of Christy Fagan.
But the champions slowly but surely came to dominate the match. Stephen O'Donnell shot dangerously from a free-kick about 25 yards out on 35 minutes after Ronan Finn was fouled, but Chris O'Connor was again able to save. Three minutes before the half-time break, Rovers' dominance paid off when Karl Sheppard gave them the lead. Gary McCabe's cross from the right was met somewhat awkwardly by the head of Sheppard, and the ball went in past the outstretched Chris O'Connor.
Bohs began the second half well, but it wasn't long before their hosts were back on top. Gary Twigg, left with a lone marker in the shape of Aidan Price, shot straight at Chris O'Connor just on the edge of the Bohs box as Price pulled him back. Price was sent off, but Rovers couldn't make anything of the resulting free-kick. The Gypsies could have levelled through Christy Fagan after 62 minutes, but the striker was halted by a superb diving save by Alan Mannus just as he tried to round the Rovers 'keeper.
The two sides were fairly evenly matched in terms of possession for large swathes of the second half, but Rovers had a clear lead in both shots and shots on target. Bohs were fairly conservative in their approach to attack for most of the match, but especially after they went down to ten men. Pat Fenlon's side had to pull Anto Flood and Killian Brennan back to resist the Hoops attack.
That Rovers attack seemed relentless in the last fifteen minutes, with Chris O'Connor forced to make a string of impressive saves between the 75th and 80th minutes. He first parried a Killian Brennan shot, and on 80 minutes made a quick fire double save after a goalmouth frenzy.
O'Connor again had to palm the ball wide after 85 minutes before it was met by the head of Gary Twigg. An increasingly threatening Rovers looked like they might score in the final few minutes of the match against a tired-looking Bohs defence, but a solitary goal was to be the difference.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Pat Sullivan, Craig Sives, Ken Oman, Enda Stevens; Gary McCabe, Stephen O'Donnell (Gary O'Neill '69), Chris Turner (Conor McCormack '85), Ronan Finn, Gary Twigg (c), Karl Sheppard (Billy Dennehy '74).
Subs not used: Dean Kelly, Dan Murray, Ryan Thompson, Ciaran Kilduff.
Bookings: Chris Turner (16), Ken Oman (65).
Bohemians: Chris O'Connor; Owen Heary, Ger O'Brien, Glenn Cronin, Liam Burns (Kevin Feely '87) Aidan Price, Robert Bayly (Keith Buckley '83), Stephen Traynor, Anto Flood (Lee Dixon '83), Christy Fagan, Killian Brennan.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Christopher Forrester, Danny Joyce, Gary Burke.
Bookings: Glenn Cronin (7), Killian Brennan (79).
Sent Off: Aidan Price (52).
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Chris O'Connor.