An early strike from Stephen Rice proved enough to see ten-man Shamrock Rovers secure their first away win of the season despite a second-half onslaught from Dundalk at Oriel Park on Tuesday night. Rice's goal put the visitors in control before Stephen Bradley's red card handed the initiative to Dundalk, who were unable to break down a stubborn Rovers defence.
Rice struck after just 11 minutes with a low 20-yard drive following a free-kick which Dundalk failed to clear properly. Rovers should have doubled their lead soon after when, midway through the opening period, Padraig Amond raced clear on goal, however, he fired wide with just Chris Bennion to beat. The Hoops' game plan was then disrupted - moments after Chris Turner should have equalised - when Bradley was sent off on 39 minutes after picking up a second yellow card for an off-the-ball incident.
The home side completely dominated the second half as the visitors switched to a 4-4-1 formation and they twice went close, through Michael Daly's header and substitute Declan O'Brien's long-range effort. However, on both occasions, goalkeeper Robert Duggan - who replaced Barry Murphy in the line-up before kick-off after the No1 injured his wrist in the warm-up - was equal to the challenge as he clawed Daly's effort off the line and then pushed O'Brien's powerful shot wide.
Dundalk: Chris Bennion; Shaun Kelly, Simon Kelly, Liam Burns, Dave Rogers; Chris Turner, Michael Daly, George O'Callaghan, Harpal Singh; Tiarnan Mulvenna (Declan O'Brien 68), Darren Mansaram.
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter (gk), Mark Griffin, Sean Mackle, Dwight Barnett.
Shamrock Rovers: Robert Duggan; Corie Tracey, Darragh Maguire, Sean Webb, Ian Bermingham; Shane Robinson, Stephen Rice, Greg Cameron, Stephen Bradley; Gary Twigg (Tadhg Purcell 64), Padraig Amond (Ollie Cahill 46).
Subs not used: Barry Murphy (gk), Eric McGill, Dessie Baker.
Referee: Dave McKeon.