Shamrock Rovers won their first league game of the season after they beat St Patrick’s Athletic 3-0 at the Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Goals from Ciaran Kilduff, Gary McCabe and Ronan Finn gave Trevor Croly's team the three points.
After a scrappy start to the game where both sides were guilty of giving the ball away a lot, Rovers left back Conor Powell had the first effort on goal after 6 minutes, but his left foot shot from outside
the area was just wide of the St.Pats’ goal.
The home side went in front right out of nothing in the 20th minute. Ronan Finn took advantage of a mix up between Ian Bermingham and Kenny Browne and crossed from the right. He found Ciaran Kilduff who headed into the net from six yards out.
Soon after Pats began to improve and started to threaten. Killian Brennan's corner from the right looked to be heading into the top corner only for Barry Murphy to claw it away to safety.
Ian Bermingham also managed to put a couple of dangerous crosses into the home team's area but there was nobody there to take advantage while a Chris Forrester deflected shot was punched to safety by Murphy.
However Rovers went 2-0 up just after half time. Ronan Finn's cross from the right was headed away by Conor Kenna straight to Gary McCabe. The Rovers number 7 controlled it with his chest and hit it left footed on the half volley past Brendan Clarke, who may well feel that he should have saved it.
Sean O'Connor nearly made it three against his former club soon after but his fine right foot shot was pushed away by Clarke. James Chambers headed wide from the corner which followed.
The Saints had plenty of possession after the Hoop's second goal. Christy Fagan had their first shot of the second half in the 57th minute when he found space outside the area but shot straight at Barry Murphy. Soon after Killian Brennan, also playing against his former club, hit a fine long range shot which wasn't too far away.
In the 80th minute the Inchicore club created their best chance of the game. Brennan turned quickly and fired a fine cross into the area which Conor Kenna met it with his head. The ball seemed destined for the bottom left hand corner but Murphy dived to his left to keep it out.
That miss was to prove even more crucial just moments later when Jake Carroll slipped and Gary McCabe got in behind the Pats’ defence. McCabe unselfishly squared it for Ronan Finn who tapped it into an empty net to wrap it up.
After four minutes of injury time referee Paul Tuite blew the final whistle. Shamrock Rovers deservedly won their first three points of the season. However Liam Buckley may well look back in anger at the mistakes which led to all three of the home team's goals.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Pat Sullivan (c), Derek Foran, Jason McGuinness, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe, Shane Robinson, Ronan Finn, James Chambers (Conor McCormack 69), Sean O'Connor (Tommy Stewart 65); Ciaran Kilduff (Billy Dennehy 84).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Karl Sheppard, David Elebert, Stephen Rice.
Booked: Pat Sullivan (28), Conor McCormack (72).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Conor Kenna (c), Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Shane McFaul, Killian Brennan, Conan Byrne (Jake Carroll 69), Chris Forrester (Conor Murphy 51), John Russell (Greg Bolger 60); Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Anto Flood, Sean Gannon, Aidan Price, Pat Jennings.
Booked: Conor Kenna (30), Shane McFaul (59).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendance: 4,000 (estimate).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Ronan Finn (Shamrock Rovers).