SHAMROCK ROVERS 3 MONAGHAN UNITED 1
FOR 56 minutes Roddy Collins managed to keep the boo-boys quiet, but eventually the dam burst. A former Shamrock Rovers boss from the season in which the Hoops were relegated, the Cabra native was always going to get a tough time from the Tallaght faithful.
But after another former Hoop Willo McDonagh put Monaghan United ahead within three minutes, the home crowd were too pre-occupied with their own side's deficiencies to worry about the man in the visitors' dugout.
Eventually their class came through as two stunning goals saved the day. Gary Twigg was the two-goal hero against Drogheda United on opening night, but a week on it was the wing men who turned on the style with two very different goals, both equal in class.
Killian Brennan may have crossed the bitter divide from Bohs, but if he can keep on scoring like he did last night they won't care in Dublin 24 as he nonchalantly back-healed Billy Dennehy's low corner home.
Within four minutes Dennehy got in on the act, smashing a rising drive past Chris Bennion.
Then Monaghan lost Darragh Reynor to a second yellow card and any chance of a revival was gone. The crowd could finally turn their attentions to Collins as Aaron Greene added a third late on.
It had all started so well for the newly promoted side, who overcame some nerves to lead when Reynor's floated free-kick found McDonagh, who deftly back-headed the ball past the despairing Oscar Jansson.
Tallaght was stunned and emotions soon turned to frustration when Collins' game plan of deploying three holding midfielders and a trio of high-pressing attackers neutered the home side's efforts.
There were scares when Brennan, Twigg and Ronan Finn had efforts, but there could be little complaint when Monaghan led at half-time.
Whatever Stephen Kenny said, Rovers looked a different team after the break while their visitors looked a little less composed. Ken Oman had a header cleared off the line, but they escaped at the other end when Jordan Keegan's effort was saved.
The pressure grew and eventually it told and once Brennan and Dennehy scored it appeared normal order had been restored. It could have been worse for Monaghan as Brennan struck the bar with a volley while Gary O'Neill fired just over.
And Greene iced the cake deep into injury-time, finishing well from Gary McCabe's pass to keep the champions flying.
SHAMROCK ROVERS -- Jansson; Gilbert (Turner 68), Sives, Oman, Powell; Brennan (McCabe 88), Rice, Finn, Dennehy; Twigg, O'Neill (Greene 86).
MONAGHAN UNITED -- Bennion; Maher, McMahon, Byrne, Reynor; Isichei (Murphy 61), Quinn, McDonagh, Keegan, Humphrey (McGuinness h-t); Griffiths (Marks 65).
REF -- G Kelly (Cork).