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Rovers see off Longford after early scare

ANOTHER home game for Shamrock Rovers under Pat Fenlon brought another timely twist that helped them ease into FAI Cup quarter-final.

With Longford bossing the early stages at Tallaght, the lethal streak so central to their surge to the First Division summit eluded them on 24 minutes when Gary Shaw allowed goalkeeper Barry Murphy smother his shot after being put clear on goal.

It proved a pivotal moment as Rovers sped ahead within a minute. Karl Sheppard released the onrushing Sean O'Connor on the left side of the penalty area and his rasping shot beat Town goalkeeper Paul Hunt.

On 36 minutes, the tie was all but settled as Gary McCabe displayed composure and accuracy in equal measure to volley home an unstoppable shot from 25 yards.

The game should have been put to bed after 69 minutes. Marty Waters and Dean Kelly exchanged passes before the latter put the ball through for Sheppard.

His effort sneaked past Hunt and shaved the post.

Stephen McPhail and Seán O'Connor had chances to extend the lead but the dismissal of the latter five minutes from time came too late for Longford to exploit. Instead, sub Patrick Cregg buried a third for the Hoops in the last minute.

An injury-time goal from Patrick Cregg, who was making his home debut, was the icing on the cake for the Hoops.

David O'Sullivan appeared to have grabbed a consilation for Town but it was immediately flagged for offside.