Defending champions Shamrock Rovers will take a 5-1 lead into the second leg of their Setanta Cup quarter-final tie following a comfortable victory over Glentoran on Monday night.
After a lively opening to the match when both sides looked to attack, the home side had early claims for a penalty when winger Gary McCabe went down in the area but referee Neil Doyle gave nothing.
Rovers did take the lead in the eighth minute after three of their new signings combined. Simon Madden crossed from the right, Kieran Marty Waters headed across goal and Robert Bayly was there to volley into the net from close range.
The Hoops, who played against a strong wind in the first half, came close to adding a second in the 19th minute. McCabe delivered an excellent cross from the right, which found Ciaran Kilduff unmarked at the back post. However the striker could only divert his effort wide.
Glentoran got back on level terms against the run of play in the 23rd minute. John McGuigan played a one-two with David Scullion who’s cross found his teammate who turned and shot goalwards before the ball went into the net via a deflection off Luke Byrne.
The Belfast club nearly went in front five minutes from half time. Once again McGuigan struck goalwards and, once again, his shot was deflected, but this time it shaved the crossbar and went over.
Tiernan Lynch’s side should have gone in front 13 minutes into the second half after Rovers failed to clear the ball properly. Steven Gordon found himself in space on the right hand side and his pinpoint cross picked out Mark Miskimmin unmarked at the back post. The striker had the goal at his mercy but somehow headed wide.
The visitors were made to pay for that miss just three minutes later. Former Bray Wanderers player Kieran Marty Waters cut in from the right side and struck a left foot shot which deflected off Stephen McAlorum and looped over Elliott Morris into the net.
Waters was also involved in the build up to the third goal. He made his way to the edge of the area where he was fouled by Jason Hill. Another new signing, Stephen McPhail, who came on as a substitute, marked his debut for his new club by curling a beautiful left footed shot around the wall and into the top corner of the net to make it 3-1 in the 74th minute.
Gary McCabe added a fourth for Rovers 10 minutes from the end of normal time. Ciaran Kilduff chased what appeared to be a lost cause down the left hand side. The ball stayed in play and Kilduff's cross to the back post picked out McCabe who volleyed home.
Former Derry City and Dundalk fullback Simon Madden got the fifth and final goal of the night in the third minute of injury time when he cut in from the right hand side and managed to get a left footed shot away which made its way into the corner of the net.
The defending champions will strongly fancy their chances of making it to the semi-final before the second leg which will take place in March. Trevor Croly will also be encouraged that some of his new signings played such a prominent role in the victory.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, David O'Connor, Luke Byrne; Gary McCabe, Ryan Brennan (Stephen McPhail 65), Robert Bayly, Kieran Marty Waters (Sean O'Connor 82); Ciaran Kilduff, Eamon Zayed (Dean Kelly 75).
Subs not used: Craig Hyland, Robert Cornwall, Ronan Finn, Shane Robinson.
Booked: McPhail (78).
Glentoran: Elliott Morris; Steven Gordon, Kevin Bradley, Johnny Addis, Jason Hill (Matthew Kerr 76); John McGuigan, Stephen McAlorum, Mark Clarke; David Scullion, Francis McCaffrey (Jordan Hughes 46); Mark Miskimmin (Danny Mc Kee 65).
Subs not used: Jim O'Hanlon, Niall Henderson, Aaron Hogg, Aaron Boyd.
Booked: McCaffrey (31), Addis (86).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Attendance: 2,000 (estimate)
Extratime.ie man of the match: Kieran Marty Waters (Shamrock Rovers)