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Dennehy's goal a boost for pride and optimism

SHAMROCK ROVERS star Billy Dennehy feels that his second-half strike in last night's 3-1 Europa League defeat by PAOK Salonika helped the Hoops restore some pride.

The in-form Kerry native scored his first goal in European competition when he beat keeper Kostas Chalkias -- a Greek international -- with a tasty free kick on 51 minutes.

A nice bonus for Dennehy to score his first goal in Europe and his 16th of the season in all competitions, making him Rovers' top scorer this term, but it was a mere consolation.

"The goal didn't mean much overall as we still lost the game, but we got a bit of pride back," said Dennehy. "We were 3-0 down at half time and we could have been well beaten if the second half had carried on like that. We had a chat and said we'd try to win the second half at least, and we did that.

"No one likes getting beaten and it's disappointing to lose 3-1 at home to anyone, but the second-half performance gives us hope for the last two games in the group.

"They could have beaten us by a cricket score, to be honest, they had three from the first half and could have scored more but we worked hard after the break. It's just such a pity we were so bad in the first half, we gave away sloppy goals, if you give a team like PAOK -- and they are a very good side -- half a chance they will score against you.

"But we got back into the game in the second half, the goal we scored lifted the team and the fans, we could have scored another one but it was took little too late.

"But we can take heart from how we finished, that we didn't lose 5-0," added Dennehy.