Friday 22 September 2017

Shamrock Rovers impress with another European win to advance in Europa League qualifiers

Shamrock Rovers 1 Stjarnan 0

6 July 2017; Shamrock Rovers players celebrate after Graham Burke, centre, scored their side's first goal during the Europa League First Qualifying Round Second Leg match between Shamrock Rovers and Stjarnan at Tallaght Stadium in Tallaght, Co Dublin.
6 July 2017; Shamrock Rovers players celebrate after Graham Burke, centre, scored their side's first goal during the Europa League First Qualifying Round Second Leg match between Shamrock Rovers and Stjarnan at Tallaght Stadium in Tallaght, Co Dublin.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

SHAMROCK Rovers finished the job they started a week earlier when defeating Iceland’s Stjarnan 1-0 at Tallaght Stadium.

In doing so Rovers added another €225,000 to the cheque that will come their way from UEFA with the current total standing at €440,000.

That’s a substantial return at their level, and illustrates why any Irish clubs with ambition of building a stable club have to be in the European picture.

They fully deserved to advance to a second round meeting with Czech side Mlada Boleslav after a solid performance in the circumstances. The home game is next Thursday.

Stephen Bradley has exciting attacking players at his disposal, youngsters who could still go on to do very well in the game, and Ireland boss Martin O’Neill was in attendance.

Three of Hoops’ promising talents combined to break the deadlock and give the Dubliners a two goal cushion.

Left winger Brandon Miele started the move with a dummy that outfoxed Johann Laxdal and opened up space for a cross that the in-demand Trevor Clarke squared for Graham Burke to slot home. Burke is a special talent, but disciplinary issues have held him back this term. When he’s on song, the ex-Aston Villa player is a serious option in a playmaking role and a superb left footed effort called Haraldur Bjornsson into action.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Hoops, though. Before their opener, they endured a nervous moment in the breakdown from a set piece with Alex Por Hauksson’s right footer testing Tomer Chencinski and Roberto Lopes alert to block the follow-up from Hilmar Arni Halldorsson.

Bradley looked to his bench to see the game out and David McAllister made an important contribution to block a goalbound shot that might have set up a tense conclusion.

That was Stjarnan’s last real throw of the dice and the natives had chances to put a more comfortable look on the scoreline with another replacement, Michael O’Connor, failing to convert a one-on-one. Ronan Finn’s quality shone through in this phase.

At the death, tensions boiled over when Clarke was cynically hacked down with the benches engaging in verbals about a challenge that was borne from frustration.

There were cheers when the highly rated teenager got to his feet. This Rovers show will go on.

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