From Macdara Ferris at Tolka Park
Three second half goals for Shamrock Rovers were enough for the Hoops to get by Shelbourne, earning them passage into Monday’s FAI Cup quarter-final draw and their fifth competitive win in a row. There was to be no cup upset by the First Division home team as the Hoops kept their hopes alive of ending their 30 year FAI Cup famine in the search for cup win number 25.
Ahead of the match there was a minutes applause to mark the ten year anniversary of the death of former Shels chairman Ollie Byrne. However there was none of the blood and thunder in the first half that would have been typical of the Byrne era when Shels were in the ascendancy and the Hoops were tenants at Tolka at the turn of the millennium.
Rovers went with a strong team, unchanged from their 2-1 league win in Galway last week. There was no surprise that the Premier Division side dominated in the possession stakes. Indeed they also wracked up seven corners in the opening period but they couldn’t take a half time lead into the break.
In the early stages of the game twice Ronan Finn looked to shoot from distance. His first effort flew into the seats behind the goal after three minutes. His second effort soon after actually came to Gary Shaw who laid off to Roberto Lopes. The Hoops central defender’s shot forced a save from Dean Delaney, the only one of note in the first half for the Shels ‘keeper.
A couple of crosses did trouble Owen Heary’s men. Graham Burke was playing in the pocket in front of the Shels back four. When he drifted wide right mid-way through the half and showed some trickery, it saw his cross come to Gary Shaw but he couldn’t keep his header on target.
On the opposite side for the Hoops Trevor Clarke, playing at left back, got by James English but his cross couldn’t be converted by Brandon Miele at the back post. At the other end the home did force a couple of corners with Hoops ‘keeper Tomer Chencinski was a spectator before the break.
Heary withdrew former Hoop Chris Lyons at half time bringing on David O’Leary with the aim of taking the game to Rovers. However it was the Hoops who took the lead just two minutes into the second half. David Webster played Burke in and he had time to stop on the end line and pick out a pass. His cut back was steered home by Brandon Miele.
The home side were inches away from equalising just moments later when English’s header rattled the Hoops cross bar with Chencinksi having to bat the rebound before Alan Byrne could steer the ball home. On 53 minutes though the Hoops doubled their lead. Clarke broke at pace and his centre found Burke who rifled home with his left.
Delaney needed to be quick out of his goal just before the hour mark to stop Shaw who was allowed to run from the half-way line using his pace to get in behind the Reds’ defence.
The game went quiet after that with the Hoops happy to keep possession and look to add to their lead which they did inside the last quarter of an hour. Burke’s through ball allowed Webster to fizz a ball across the Shels six yard box. Delaney got a hand to it but it came to substitute James Doona who make no mistake at the back post.
The Hoops did lose their captain with seven minutes to go. Finn had picked up a first half booking for a foul on James English. When he went down on the edge of the Shels box, referee Rob Rogers gave him a second yellow card and then a red.
The scoreline and clock were against the Reds and they couldn’t capitalise on their late man advantage as Rovers advanced to the quarter-final of the FAI Cup.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; James Brown, Derek Prendergast, Aidan Collins, Sean Byrne (Dylan Kavanagh 59); James English, Mark Hughes, Alan Byrne, Adam Evans; Chris Lyons (David O’Leary h/t); Jamie Doyle (Dale Rooney 71).
Subs not used: Jamie Quinn; (GK), Dylan Grimes, James O’Brien, Aaron Molloy.
Booked: Alan Byrne (33), James Brown (86).
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski; David Webster, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Trevor Clarke; Ryan Connolly (James Doona 54), Ronan Finn, David McAllister, Brandon Miele (Aaron Bolger 77); Graham Burke; Gary Shaw (Michael O’Connor 78).
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan, Dean Carpenter, Sam Bone, Cameron King.
Booked: Ronan Finn (24 and 83).
Sent Off: Ronan Finn (83).
Referee: Rob Rogers.
Extratime Man of the Match: David Webster (Shamrock Rovers).