Goals at the start of either half from Ciaran Kilduff and Sean O’Connor sealed a routine 2-0 win for Shamrock Rovers over Drogheda United at a wet and windy United Park.
Pat Fenlon made four changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Dundalk on Monday and they started with intent. Within the opening minute O’Connor’s speculative drive from distance was parried by Drogheda goalkeeper Micheál Schlingermann and Ryan Brennan failed hit the target with a diving header on the rebound.
In a similar fashion to their home defeat to St Pat’s last week, Drogheda were caught cold early on as three minutes later sweeping football down the right between Gary McCabe and Simon Madden saw the latter drive a low cross into the box that was converted from close range by Kilduff.
The home side were denied a strong penalty on the half hour mark as Gary O’Neill dispossessed Jason McGuinness in the box and the defender tried to make amends but brought down the Drogheda player though referee Graham Kelly opted to wave play on.
United had grown into the game by this stage and with 35 minutes played a free kick into the box fell the way of Peter McGlynn but the midfielder’s well struck effort flew narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
The Hoops began the second half in the same decisive manner that they started the game and they doubled their lead three minutes after the interval.
Madden was again given acres of space on the right hand side and his cross picked out O’Connor at the back post and he headed past Schlingermann for 2-0. That was Madden's tenth assist in the league this season.
Rovers continued to control the game and they almost made it three as Ronan Finn released McCabe through on goal but the winger’s effort lacked the power to beat the Drogheda 'keeper.
The home side came close to pulling a goal back in injury time as Ciaran McGuigan’s thunderous drive from the edge of the box cannoned back off the post as United ended their domestic season at home with a defeat as Rovers made it ten consecutive league wins in United Park.
Drogheda United: Micheál Schlingermann; Ciaran McGuigan (Ciaran O’Connor 90), Alan McNally, Paul Andrews, Shane Grimes; Carl Walshe, Gavan Holohan, Stephen Maher (Declan O’Brien 79), Peter McGlynn, Adam Wixted (Paul Crowley 56), Gary O’Neill.
Subs not used: Dylan Connolly, Roy Kierans, Garreth Brady, Sean O’Connor.
Booked: Maher (54), McGuigan (67), O’Neill (88).
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, Jason McGuinness, Luke Byrne; Ronan Finn, Ryan Brennan (Shane Robinson 73), Robert Bayly, Gary McCabe, Sean O’Connor (Marty Waters 68); Ciaran Kilduff (Karl Sheppard 82).
Subs not used: Craig Hyland, Stephen McPhail, Robert Cornwall. Karl Sheppard, Dean Kelly.
Booked: Bayly (35), Brennan (62).
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Attendance: 1,000 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Simon Madden (Shamrock Rovers).