Rovers strike big blow in title race
Shamrock Rovers 3 Gorey Rangers 2
Before this game supporters felt the result could have a crucial bearing on the eventual outcome of the title but they were left in little doubt as to Shamrock Rovers' intentions as they turned in a thrilling second-half performance to outsmart struggling Gorey Rangers to take all three points in this exciting Premier Division clash at Peter Quinn Park on Sunday morning last.
Throughout a first-half full of frustration, both sides despite some promising outfield play, were unable to turn chances into scores.
While one could understand the frustration of that opening 45 minutes, one always felt that the goal would follow, so one was not disappointed with a secondhalf that saw the home side stretch into a three-goal lead which all but secured the three crucial points keeping them sitting prettily at the top of the table.
It's inevitable even at this stage of the league campaign, that the destination of the title is more than likely to come down to a battle between themselves and old rivals North End, so their clashes later on in the league will provide for some interesting football.
Gorey have failed to achieve in the league so far, starting this game with just five points, but they opened impressively forcing the games first corner after just four minutes, but Mark Woods kick was capably dealt with by Sean Miller.
It was Rangers who looked promising moving forward and it was Woods who was presented with a chance but his weak finish was easily dealt with by keeper Liam Murphy.
Having achieved some important results already, Rovers were surprisingly hesitant through the opening 20 minutes, being restricted to a couple of long range attempts on goal from Emmett Quirke.
Then after 24 minutes Rangers built down the left the cross from Adam Territ found Mark Woods in space to the left of goal but once again his weakly hit effort on goal was straight at keeper Murphy.
That was the pattern of the first-half play with Rovers nearest attempt to breaking the deadlock coming from the lively Ricky Fox who saw his header just go over the top, but it was no surprise to see the sides go in 0-0 at the interval.
On the resumption it was clear Rovers were in no mood to allow three home points slip as they built a series of threatening attacks from the restart.
They were now beginning to stretch the Rangers back four with Fox seeing a 56th minute effort fly just the wrong side of the right hand post.
Slowly they began to turn the screw and it was becoming more inevitable that a goal would follow.
This arrived in the 59th minute when Fox showed neat footwork to attract a rash tackle from right back Conor Casserley just inside the right edge of area, leaving referee Michael Franklin with no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Fox picked himself up to drill a low penalty to the right hand corner of the net giving his side a deserved 1-0 lead.
Having dragged themselves in front, the goal brought new life to Rovers who now went in search of securing the points, and this they managed in a three minute blitz of attacks.
Just 64 minutes into the game it was Eddie Black who found himself unmarked just inside the area leaving him with time to first-time a Fox corner-kick high into the top right corner of the net making it 2-0.
Two minutes later a moment of Ricky Dwyer magic produced the third. The midfielder lifted the ball over an advancing defender, went on to show composure to guide the ball beyond advancing keeper Sean Allen making it 3-0 and the points secure.
Rangers day had started impressively but they had little answer to Rovers second half onslaught but to their credit they kept battling producing a goal on 77 minutes when Adam Territ found the net with a neat finish as he drilled a low shot to the left corner of the net.
The score managed to give Rangers a real lift for they set up a tense finish when Jamie Heffernan, following some good approach football from deep in midfield, found himself in space and he beat keeper Murphy with a rising shot to the top right hand corner of the net.
However, in the remaining minutes Rovers played down the clock to hold out for what could yet prove three crucial points.
Shamrock Rovers: Liam Murphy, Alan Freeman, Ian Sinnott, Sean Miller, James Carty, Eddie Black Rickie Dwyer, Martin Kelly, Emmet Quirke, Eamon O'Brien, Ricky Fox. Subs: Eoin McDonald, Mikie Dempsey, Chris Kenny.
Gorey Rangers: Sean Allen, Conor Casserly, Paul Brennan, Gavin O'Brien, Stephen Moloney, Gary Murphy, Stephen Kinsella, Dylan Vickers, David Behan, Adam Territ, Mark Woods. Subs: Glen O'Brien, Jamie Howard, Jamie Heffernan, Joe Bolger, Ryan Cullen, Gavin Griffiths.
Referee: Michael Franklin.