Twigg brace keeps Hoops on title path
Shamrock Rvs 3
Galway United 0
SHAMROCK Rovers fans will this morning be licking their lips at the prospect of all but securing their first Airtricity League Premier Division title since 1994 at the home of none other than their fiercest rivals Bohemians in 10 days' time.
A second trouncing of Galway United in a week last night, meant the Hoops took a commanding six-point lead at the summit and could go to Dalymount Park looking for the win that would put them nine points clear of the Gypsies with three games to play.
That scenario is assuming that the two Dublin rivals win their games against lower-league opposition next Friday.
And Pat Fenlon's Bohs will no doubt be further motivated for their home tie against Bray next week by the fact that if they fail to claim the three points, they could relinquish their league trophy to Rovers on their own turf.
But no matter what transpires next Friday night in the prelude to Ireland's biggest derby game, it promises to be a clash with the highest stakes.
Sean Connor is certainly not the most popular of former Bohemians managers and his stock will have depleted further last night after his side were rolled over by Rovers for the second time in seven days.
They shipped six at Tallaght last Friday night in the FAI Cup quarter-finals and Connor was scathing in his criticism of Irish referees after he saw his 'keeper Barry Ryan red carded for dissent.
But unfortunately for the Belfast man, he had nothing to blame last night but his side's own ineptitude.
Granted, Rovers were at their clinical best as Gary Twigg joined the exiled Padraig Amond at the top of the league's goalscoring chart with a brace.
But his strike partner Neale Fenn was given far too much time on the ball for his 10th-minute opener, with the former Dundalk man chipping a delightful ball to the back post where the Scottish poacher was lurking to tap home after the Galway goalkeeper Darragh Geraghty flapped in vain.
If that one was helped a little by the Tribesmen's defensive frailties, the next one 17 minutes later was an attacking goal of pure class.
The eventual goalscorer Twigg began the move as he fed Chambers on the right and the former Drogheda winger picked out a pin-point cross to find Fenn. He produced a deft touch to divert the ball right back into the path of last season's domestic player of the year and he volleyed home with aplomb.
The depleted visitors were all at sea and they suffered the embarrassment of entering the dressing-room at half-time 3-0 down after Craig Sives powered home a thumping header from Stephen Bradley's corner on 33 minutes.
The game fizzled out after that as the hosts took their foot of the pedal and the result, paired Dundalk's victory, means Galway will now face a battle with UCD to avoid the bottom three and a relegation play-off.
SHAMROCK ROVERS -- Mannus, Murphy, Sives, Price, Stevens; Chambers (Rice 53), Turner, Bradley (Bayly 79), Stewart; Fenn (Baker 60), Twigg.
GALWAY UNITED -- Geraghty, Sinnott, Reilly (King 25), McKenzie, Meynell; Molloy (Keogh 67), Curran, Conneely, O'Brien; Walsh, Sheppard.
REF -- T Connolly (Dublin).