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brilliant o'leary thwarts rovers

PARK HOTSPUR......................... 3

SHAMROCK ROVERS.................... 2

SHAMROCK ROVERS dreams of catching the league leaders were dealt a killer blow when a superb Park Hotspur took all three points from this Wexford Premier Division clash at Rosslare yesterday morning.

With Ciaran O'Leary superb in goal pulling off at least six top drawer saves and Declan Goodison superb in midfield, Park Hotsput looked up for this game, with the three points lifting them comfortably into the top half of the table

Shamrock Rovers, eight points adrift lying in second place of long time leaders, New Ross Celtic, saw any hope they entertained of catching the runaway leaders disappear as a consequence of this result.

Although they put in a storming finish with a James Carty strike making it 3-2, Park Hotspur were not in the mood for surrendering their lead, and with O'Leary and Declan Goodison both inspirational they held out in what was a thrilling ninety minutes of football.

Both sides created chances but it was the superb O'Leary in goal for Park who denied Eamonn O'Brien, Ricky Fox and David Whelan with superb saves.

This was turning into a tremendous battle but despite the free-flowing nature of the football neither side succeeded in breaking the deadlock during the opening forty-five minute with Peter Marsden and Fran Dempsey coming close to scoring for the homeside only to be denied by John Thorpe in the visitors goal.

You could say that there was always something special to come in this game such was the quality of football. Well that's how it turned out as one was treated to five excellent second half goals.

The first of those goals arrived in the sixtieth minute when Peter Marsden placed a crossfield pass into the path of Paddy King who sent a screaming thirty metre shot to the top right hand corner of the net. The lead was, however, shortlived, for Shamrock rovers were back level five minutes when Mikey Dempsey beat several tackles before drilling a low shot beyond keeper O'Leary for a great equalising goal.

Fifteen minutes from the end, Park Hotspur were back in front when Paul Dempsey rose to a Declan Goodison freekick to power home a superb header, while ten minutes from the end, Paul Dempsey added his second, with a neat twenty metre shot to make it 3-1.

With five minutes remaining Shamrock Rovers set up a tense finish when substitute John Carty finished splendidly from the edge of the area but Park Hotspur held out for the closing minutes to deservedly take all three points.

Park Hotspur: Ciaran O'Leary, Harry Kavanagh, lee Smith, Jay Malone, Paul Dempsey, Paddy King, Fran Cleary, Declan Goodison, Peter Marsden, Fran Dempsey, Robbie Mullins. Subs: Tony O'Leary, kenny Kavanagh, Warren Murphy.

Shamrock Rovers: John Thorpe, Alan Freeman, Mikey Dempsey, clive O'Brien, Philip Freeman, John Dobbs, David Whelan, Tony Kenny, Eamonn O'Brien, Murt McKeon, Ricky Fox. Subs: Paul Giltrap, James Carty, Colm Sheehan, Sean Wildes.

Referee: Damien Donovan.