Shelbourne 2 - 4 Shamrock RoversMon, Jul 02 2012
This Leinster Senior Cup semi-final threatened to be overshadowed by ongoing speculation about manager Stephen Kenny's future at the club, but Shamrock Rovers showed no signs of buckling under pressure in Tolka Park on Monday night.
Four first half goals capped an efficient performance against Shelbourne, setting up a final meeting with St. Pats CY. Shels, for their part, did themselves no favours by being consistently careless on the ball.
The Hoops, who were 3-2 victors when the two sides met in Tolka Park 10 days ago, took the lead after five minutes through Killian Brennan. The former Bohs man showed his dead ball expertise by sweetly hitting a 25-yard free kick past Paul Skinner.
Aaron Greene's 32nd minute header put Rovers two up. Brennan turned provider this time, putting in a good corner for Greene to get on the end of. The ball hit the ground first, but still had enough power to get past Skinner.
Skinner couldn't do much to stop Greene's header, but he was at fault for the third Rovers goal. The 'keeper rushed out of his box in an attempt to clear the ball when it looked like Andy Boyle had it covered. In the resulting mix-up the ball bobbled loose and allowed Daryl Kavanagh to finish into an open goal from 30 yards.
The fourth goal came just before half time, sealing an abject first half performance by Shels. Chris Turner struck the ball sweetly from 30 yards, but the goal probably owed more to the space the midfielder was afforded by the Reds defence.
That commanding lead gave Rovers the chance to sit back a bit more in the second half. Shelbourne dominated possession for most of the first fifteen minutes, but lacked any creativity in the final third.
Rovers threatened to push on a bit, but never really pressed for more goals. It was Alan Mathews's side which sparked the game back into life on 73 minutes, thanks to a Philly Hughes goal. After some light pressure, an unmarked Hughes received the ball inside the Hoops box and calmly slotted the ball past Reyaad Pieterse.
For a fleeting moment it looked like the Reds might go on the hunt for more goals, as Rovers opted to blood some of their youth players. Philly Gorman's late header made the scoreline reflect an improved second half from the Reds. But both goals proved to be too little, too late and the Hoops marched on to a 28th Leinster Senior Cup final.
Shelbourne: Paul Skinner; Lorcan Fitzgerald (Barry Clancy 46), Andy Boyle, Stephen Paisley, Gareth Matthews; Conan Byrne (Paddy Kavanagh 78), Kevin Dawson (Anto Murphy 58), Stephen Hurley, Brendan McGill; Philip Gorman, Philip Hughes.
Subs Not Used: Dean Delany, Brian Shortall, David Cassidy, Paul Byrne.
Yellow Cards: Stephen Paisley (48).
Shamrock Rovers: Reyaad Pieterse; Kerrea Gilbert, Colin Hawkins, Craig Sives (Gary Comerford, 46), Jack Memery; Stephen O'Donnell (Karl McGrath 78), Lorcan Shannon, Chris Turner, Killian Brennan (Niall Forrester 67); Aaron Greene, Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs Not Used: Lee Stacey, James Maloney.
Yellow Cards: Daryl Kavanagh (66), Jack Memery (76).
Referee: John Grimes.
Attendance: 500 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Daryl Kavanagh.
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.