Goals from Gary Twigg and Gary McCabe gave Shamrock Rovers a deserved 2-0 victory over UCD at Belfield on Friday night. It was Rover's second away win on the bounce in the league.
It didn't take the Hoops long to break the deadlock. After a quiet and even opening to the game they took the lead in the 6th minute. Ronan Finn broke down the right hand side and crossed for Gary Twigg. Twigg controlled the ball, and his shot went into the net via the post.
Rovers nearly went two up soon after. Stephen Rice found Twigg in the box and the Scot pulled it back for Gary McCabe. McCabe's right foot shot was off target though.
However UCD were still very much in it in the first half and Chris Lyons nearly equalized for them in the 22nd minute. After David McMillan won a challenge on the edge of the Rovers area the ball found its way to the UCD striker. Lyons tried to round Oscar Jansson but the visiting goalkeeper dived full length to prevent a goal.
In the 33rd minute Paul O'Conor went on a fine run and picked out Tyrone McNellis on the right. McNelis' cross was half cleared by Pat Sullivan and the ball found its' way to McMillan whose first time volley was not too far away.
The champions should have doubled their advantage just before half time after Twigg played a fine ball to Gary McCabe on the left. McCabe pulled the ball back for the onrushing Ronan Finn, but Finn who scored against Derry last week fired his effort over the bar this time from inside the area.
The Hoops created the first real chance of the second half in the 52nd minute. Conor Powell played it forward to Gary McCabe. McCabe beat Hugh Douglas down the right hand side and pulled it back for Daryl Kavanagh in space. Kavanagh shot first time but his effort was just wide.
UCD's only real opportunity of the second half came soon after. David McMillan curled a right foot shot from outside the area just over the top.
Rovers deservedly doubled their advantage in the 68th minute. Killian Brennan played it to Ronan Finn who found the outstanding Gary McCabe. McCabe raced towards goal and curled a fine right foot shot from outside the area into the corner of the net past McGinley.
Substitute and recent signing Thomas Stewart missed a sitter late on for Rovers. Finn put in an outstanding cross from the right. He picked out Stewart in the 6 yard box but somehow the returning player, who got a fine reception from the away fans when he came on, headed wide.
Stewart’s miss mattered little when referee Neil Doyle blew the final whistle after three minutes of injury time. Rovers moved up to third with this victory while Martin Russels’ side remain at the bottom of the table.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas, James Kavanagh, Mick Leahy (c), Daniel Ledwith; Paul Corry, Paul O'Conor; Tyrone McNelis (Sean Russell 60), Robbie Benson (Gary Burke 77), David McMillan; Chris Lyons (Dean Clarke 70)
Subs not used: Ger Barron, Tomas Boyle, Ciaran Nangle, Barry McCabe.
Booked: Corry (24), P O'Conor (42), Kavanagh (65).
Shamrock Rovers: Oscar Jansson; Pat Sullivan (Kerrea Gilbert 77), Colin Hawkins, Craig Sives, Conor Powell; Chris Turner (Killian Brennan 30), Stephen Rice, Ronan Finn, Gary McCabe; Daryl Kavanagh (Thomas Stewart 55), Gary Twigg
Subs not used: Reyaad Pieterse, Ciaran Kilduff, Conor McCormack, Billy Dennehy.
Booked: Sives (79).
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Gary McCabe (Shamrock Rovers).