New Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny saw his side claim a 1-0 win over Mervue United in a pre-season friendly at the Tallaght Stadium on Saturday night. Gary O'Neill's first half goal proved to be the difference between the sides.
Shamrock Rovers had most of the early play and after Chris Turner shot over from inside the area early on, the Hoops nearly took the lead in the 20th minute. Daryl Kavanagh passed to Dean Kelly. Kelly's cross picked out Billy Dennehy, but somehow Denenhy shot wide from six yards out.
In the 29th minute Gary O'Neill was played in by Dean Kelly, who was denied by a fine save from Ronan Forde in the Mervue goal. The ball then found its way back to Steven O'Donnell. O'Donnell's fine long range effort was brilliantly tipped over by Forde.
Shamrock Rovers took the lead in the lead in the 36th minute. Chris Turner made a fine run and remained unchallenged before hitting a fine shot from just outside the area. Ronan Forde couldn't hold it and the ball rebounded to Gary O'Neill who had the simple task of knocking it into the net from six yards out.
Mervue very nearly scored a minute later. Gary Kelly played in Dave Goldbey. However the Mervue number 10 shot straight at Conor Devlin who made a simple save.
Gary O'Neill was through on goal again soon after and chipped it over a hesitant Forde but the ball went just wide. In the 44th minute O'Neill played Dean Kelly in. This time it was Kelly's turn to chip Forde, but again the ball went just past the post.
Rovers continued to have most of the play at the start of the second half and very nearly doubled their advantage in the 54th minute. The ball broke to substitute Ronan Finn on the edge of the area, but the midfielder's shot hit the post. Soon after Gary O'Neill was denied by another fine save from Forde.
Substitute Entanda Nkololo threatened for Mervue in the 66th minute. He cut in from the left and curled a right foot shot which was just too high. The game developed into something of a drab affair in the second half. Both managers made a number of substitutions which didn't help.
New signing Killian Brennan came close to scoring a second for Rovers in the 81st minute. He shot with his left foot from a narrow angle but the ball hit the side netting. Dean Kelly teed up Ronan Finn soon after but his long range effort was parried to safety.
The game ended without any major drama. Stephen Kenny may well be looking for some improvement from his side before the Premier League season begins, while Johnny Glynn should be reasonably happy with his
Shamrock Rovers: Conor Devlin (Conor Winn 78), Sean Gannon, Colin Hawkins, Graham Gartland (Ken Oman 46), Conor Powell (Jack Memery 78), Dean Kelly (Sean Dixon 85), Chris Turner (Ronan Finn 46), Stephen O'Donnell (Stephen Rice 35),Billy Dennehy (Killian Brennan 46), Daryl Kavanagh (Gary McCabe 46), Gary O'Neill.
Mervue United: Ronan Forde, Mark Ludden (Kenny Farrell 46) ,Barry McEntee (Michael McSweeney 46) , Stephen Walsh, Mike Elwood,Gary Kelly (Pat Hoban 46) , Jason Molloy (Philip Keegan 46) , Noel Varley,Mike
Collins (Entanda Nkololo 46) . Alan Murphy (Gary Kelly 70), Dave Goldbey (Peter Dravins 46) .
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Attendance: 300 approx.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Dean Kelly (Shamrock Rovers).