After Good Friday’s filleting by five goals to one, Shamrock Rovers arose and appeared to put that defeat to Pats behind them as the beat SD Galway in the EA Sports Cup. Two first half penalties from Gary McCabe were the difference between the sides in a game that the Dubliners dominated from start to finish.
The Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny gave a debut to goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse and his first touch after three minutes coming to claim a ball looked to be outside the area. However the match officials gave the big South African ‘keeper the benefit of the doubt.
The game was just seven minutes old when Shamrock Rovers won a penalty. Conor McCormack and Stephen Rice linked up well on the right with Rice feeding in Gary McCabe. The right-winger was taken down by Timmy Molloy and McCabe took the penalty himself to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Rovers dominated possession in the first half and Devon found it very hard to penetrate the Rovers defence. Ronan Burke in the Devon goal could only parry a free kick from Killian Brennan but he did very well to save the follow up from Gary O’Neill from point blank range. The 100 or so Shamrock Rovers fans thought their side were about to go two up but Daryl Kavanagh’s shot from outside the area flashed inches by the right hand post.
It was a hectic last five minutes of the first half as the home side created their only two real chances of the period. Nicky Curran punted a free from his own half and Pieterse came to punch at the edge of the Rovers box. In the swirling wind he did not get a good connection but was fouled as the ball dropped in the box. Devon followed that chance up with Enda Curran getting an opportunity to strike a shot in the box but the ex-Devon man Colin Hawkins blocked his shot down.
Just on half time, Shamrock Rovers doubled their lead with another penalty. Rovers got the opportunity after good work by Gary McCabe and Conor McCormack. They played a one-two that saw McCormack get away down the wing. He put a weak cross in that defender Paddy Quinlan dwelt too long on and Daryl Kavanagh just nipped in front to take the ball. Quinlan took him down as he tried to clear. McCabe took this penalty to make it 2-0 choosing to slot the ball away in the opposite left hand corner from his earlier goal.
In the second half Daryl Kavanagh went closest to extending Rovers’ lead. He had a goal ruled out for offside after 49 minutes, forced Devon ‘keeper Burke into a good save on 74 minutes and he also hit the bar after a Gary O’Neill step over allowed him in on goal five minutes later.
The Hoops deserved a third for the fine passing move they put together on 75 minutes. Reyaad Pieterse, who had to be quick out of his box to head clear a through ball minutes earlier, threw the ball out quickly to his full back Conor Powell. Powell linked up with Gary O'Neill who fed Killian Brennan. Brennan then played in Powell who had gone on a fine run and his shot was pushed onto the post by Ronan Burke.
Devon played out the final nine minutes with ten men as Willie Enubele picked up a second yellow card, this time for dissent, but Rovers couldn’t exploit the additional space in those final minutes. Devon still await their first win of the season while Rovers move onto the quarter final of the EA Sports Cup.
SD Galway: Ronan Burke; Nicky Curran, Paddy Quinlan, Brian Geraghty, Tommy Bradshaw; Colm Horgan, Willie Enubele, Luke McConnell (Michael Harty 77), Timmy Molloy (Eugene Greaney 73), Brian Gaffney; Enda Curran (Michael Tierney 67).
Subs Not Used: James Keane, Ronan Conlon, Gerry Dolan, Charlie Burke.
Bookings: E Curran (22), Geraghty (24), Enubele (59), Greaney (87).
Sent Off: Enubele (81).
Shamrock Rovers: Reyaad Pieterse; Conor McCormack, Colin Hawkins, Graham Gartland, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe (Lorcan Shannon 91), Killian Brennan, Stephen Rice, Aaron Greene; Gary O’Neill (Dean Ebbe 91), Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Oscar Jansson, Sean Gannon, Craig Sives, Chris Turner, Billy Dennehy.
Bookings: K Brennan (55).
Referee: Phil Caschera.
Attendance: 250 (estimate)
ExtraTime Man of the Match: Gary McCabe.