Colmán Stanley reports from Tallaght Stadium
Shamrock Rovers brushed aside UCD with a 7-0 victory on a wet and windy day at Tallaght Stadium.
New signing Graham Cummins opened his account for the home side while Aaron McEneff and Aaron Greene both scored twice.
It was a busy week for both sides. UCD were awarded a 3-0 victory over Bohemians after Bohs had ineligibly fielded Danny Mandriou who should have been suspended.
That was after keeper Conor Kearns’ goading of the away supporters had incited a small brawl, for which he was given a minimum one-match suspension, thus missing today’s match.
Rovers defeated Brann on Thursday evening to advance to the next round of the Europa League qualifying, and manager Stephen Bradley made three changes to the team for the match.
Rovers dominated the game from kick-off and had early chances to score through Cummins, McEneff and Daniel Carr.
Cummins finally got his first goal for the club in the 13th minute when the ball fell nicely to him in the box, allowing him to beat Gavin Sheridan despite the keeper getting a strong hand to the shot.
The Hoops were relentless with their pressure and found the net again when McEneff headed home a Jack Byrne corner.
UCD had cause to feel hard done by as it appeared that Daniel Carr had fouled Dan Tobin in winning the corner.
The match had an air of a training game to it as the home side stuck away two more quick-fire goals.
The first was scored by Carr when he touched home Seán Kavanagh’s cross. Jack Byrne then blasted a low shot past Sheridan after a lovely run into the box by the Hoops playmaker.
The relentless attacking continued before the visitors finally had their first chance of the game through Jason McClelland when he blasted a shot at Alan Mannus who saved well.
The second half was much the same as the first. McEneff scored again soon after the break with substitute Greene providing him with the assist.
Greene had a chance to make it six soon after, but he scuffed his shot. Richie O’Farrell then had a rare chance for the Students, but his shot was straight at Alan Mannus.
Greene eventually got his just rewards when he headed home a Kavanagh cross, and with it being their sixth goal it sent the visitors to the bottom of the table.
Sheridan was fighting a losing battle as shots reigned down upon him, but it was the crossbar that saved him when Carr somehow missed from point blank range.
The home side then got their inevitable seventh goal when Aaron Greene robbed the ball of Evan Farrell and slotted home.
That was the best of it from Rovers with UCD having the last real chance of the match when Danu Kinsella Bishop had a shot cleared brilliantly by Roberto Lopes.
It was hard to judge just how good Rovers were after such a poor performance by UCD, but without a doubt the form of new signing Cummins bodes very well.
UCD manager Collie O’Neill will be very frustrated by falling behind Finn Harps again, particularly after the success they have had in recent weeks.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Roberto Lopes, Sean Kavanagh, Lee Grace, Ethan Boyle (Eric Abulu 46); Gary O'Neill, Aaron McEneff, Jack Byrne (Thomas Oluwa 59); Graham Cummins (Aaron Greene 46), Daniel Carr, Dylan Watts.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls (gk), Joey O'Brien, Darragh Nugent, Ronan Finn.
UCD: Gavin Sheridan; Evan Farrell, Harry McEvoy, Dan Tobin; Mark Dignam, Paul Doyle, Dara Keane (Jack Ryan 65), Jack Keaney, Richie O'Farrell (Isaac Akinsete 75); Yousef Mahdy (Danu Kinsella Bishop 46), Jason McClelland.
Subs not used: Tom Murphy (gk), Luke Boore.
Referee: Ben Connolly.
Attendance: 1,523 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers).