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Shamrock Rovers may have relinquished their Setanta All-Ireland crown earlier on in the season but at Tallaght Stadium last night Rovers claimed the Leinster Senior Cup and their first trophy of the season with a 1-0 win over a determined St. Patrick’s CY.
The visitors from Ringsend, who play in Leinster Senior League, didn’t make it easy for the Airtricity League champions with the winner only coming for Rovers from Aaron Greene just seven minutes from time.
The clear cut chances in the first half may have fallen to Shamrock Rovers but St. Pat’s CY’s best chance was the first one of the game when Dean Young was given the chance to shoot at Reyaad Pieterse after 7 minutes.
Billy Dennehy caused Mark Roche difficulties at full back with a number of mazy runs. His cross on 10 minutes flashed across the six-yard goal but neither Daryl Kavanagh nor Aaron Greene could get the decisive touch. Moments later Greene forced a good save from Philip O’Connor in the Pat’s CY goal after a defensive splitting pass by Gary O’Neill.
The Rovers defence, led by captain Ken Oman, needed to be on their toes to thwart Pat’s CY’s strike force on a couple of occasions as Alan Murphy linked up with Aidan Roche in the Rovers half.
Gary O’Neill was centrally involved in most of the Rovers action in front of the CY goal and he should have put the Tallaght side a goal up just after the half hour mark. He was unchallenged getting to a Dennehy cross but his header just drifted wide of the left hand post with O’Connor standing watching the ball. This came a minute after Aidan Roche’s header for Pat’s CY from a Gary O’Connor free went wide at the other end.
Throughout the game Andrew Doolin and his centre back partner Thomas Nolan made a number of important interceptions and tackles for the Ringsend club as Rovers tried to thread the ball through the packed CY defence.
Just before the hour mark, Stephen Kenny’s men created three chances none of which they could make count. Rovers second half substitute Dean Ebbe was very much the player involved. He sliced a shot wide from an O’Neill pass before a Gary O’Neill lob was knocked behind for a corner. The subsequent centre from Dennehy saw Ebbe’s header loop just over the bar.
As the game moved into the final quarter, Rovers began to step up the pressure on the Leinster Senior League side, who wore their green and white hooped kit on the night, as Rovers’ fitness began to tell. A Greene centre was hit over the bar by Ebbe as he stretched in the six-yard box. On 77 minutes, Sean Gannon rattled the Pat’s CY crossbar with a shot from 25 yards.
Six minutes later, Rovers had the lead they so richly deserved. The ball was worked all the way across to Greene on the right hand side of the box and his right foot shot found the bottom corner of the net to break the hearts of the Pat’s CY players, management and fans. Murphy almost got an equaliser two minutes later but Pieterse through an arm up to force his shot from outside the area behind for a corner. In injury time, O’Connor tipped behind an O’Neill shot that seemed destined for the top corner.
Rovers win their 17th Leinster Senior Cup and, with an EA Sports Cup final and an FAI Cup quarter final to come this month, they hope it won’t be the only trophy they win this season. St. Pat’s CY can be rightly proud, not only of their efforts in getting to the final beating Bray and UCD en-route, but also of their display in the final where they pushed Rovers hard all the way to the final whistle.
Shamrock Rovers: Reyaad Pieterse; Kerrea Gilbert, Jack Memery, Ken Oman, Shane O’Connor; Billy Dennehy, Conor McCormack, Sean Gannon, Aaron Greene; Daryl Kavanagh (Dean Ebbe, 46), Gary O’Neill.
Subs not used: Aaron Shanahan, Stephen Morris, Nathan Brown, Dylan Kearney, James Mullaney, Mark Sandford.
Bookings: S O’Connor (25).
St. Patrick’s CYFC: Philip O’Connor; Glen O’Connor, Andrew Doolin, Thomas Nolan, Mark Roche; Dean Young (Paul Healy, 87), Carl O’Brien (Dean Kinsella, 85), Graham Hannigan, Gary O’Connor (Thomas Dunne, 71); Aidan Roche, Alan Murphy.
Subs not used: Simon Dunne, Warren Behan, Conor Riddick, Stephen Murphy.
Bookings: D Young (71), T Nolan (75).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Man of the Match: Andrew Doolin.
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Luxembourg. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller
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