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Twigg strikes to keep rovers top

SHAMROCK ROVERS are top of the Premier Division table after eking out a 1-0 win over Galway at Terryland Park last night.

The Hoops were nowhere near as polished as they had been when dismantling Dundalk, but they were resourceful enough to secure the win against a passionate Galway United side.

Galway ruled much of an interesting encounter, but they lacked the required ruthlessness, and Rovers possess Gary Twigg, who delivered the knock-out blow on 62 minutes.

Galway's deep financial troubles mean that further players are expected to follow Cian McBrien and Anto Flood out the Terryland Park exit door in the coming days. The whispers around the Corribside venue suggested that Bobby Ryan, Thomas Heary, and James Creaney will depart soon, while Glasgow Celtic are rumoured to be interested in Karl Sheppard.

With several clubs reportedly monitoring his progress with Galway, Sheppard contributed much to the home side's enthusiastic opening last night. Fifteen minutes had elapsed when Derek O'Brien skipped in from the left, but his shot drifted inches wide as Galway sought to nick the lead.

As the half evolved Rovers improved, and in the 31st minute a Craig Sives cross located Dan Murray, but Barry Ryan was able to make a routine save.

Still Galway ploughed on defiantly with O'Brien's ability to dash inside causing the visitors some distress, and Alan Mannus had to be alert on 34 minutes to stop the Tralee native.

The third quarter was laced with further moments of goalkeeping craft from Mannus, who kept the Hoops in the reckoning. Mannus saved from Sheppard on 54 minutes and Gary Curran four minutes later as the hosts poured forward in search of a goal that their passion merited.

The League of Ireland can be a cruel environment in which to operate and Galway were reminded of this when the Hoops pilfered what turned out to be the winning goal in the 62nd minute, against the run of play.

Twigg climbed expertly to glance Enda Stevens' deep left-wing cross past Ryan to score the goal that earned Michael O'Neill's title seekers an important victory.