Wednesday 21 March 2018

Kelly helps Rovers put one foot in semi-finals

Lisburn Distillery 0
Shamrock Rovers 3

Shamrock Rovers effectively booked their place in the semi-finals of the Setanta Sports Cup with an impressive quarter-final first-leg victory at New Grosvenor Stadium.

Leading 2-0 at the break, a 67th-minute strike from Dean Kelly was the icing on the cake.

After a cagey start the first chance fell to Lisburn Distillery striker Gary Browne on the quarter-hour mark, but his volley from the edge of the box was blocked by Pat Flynn.

The corner was cleared and Rovers responded two minutes later, as Connor McCormack swept in a cross and Ciaran Kilduff's header skimmed past the upright.

On 26 minutes, Gary Liggett broke clear on the left but his low shot was comfortably gathered by Rovers 'keeper Ryan Thompson.

His counterpart Phil Matthews was then forced into action twice -- he turned Paddy Kavanagh's shot away for a corner before Rovers midfielder Kavanagh almost got Karl Sheppard in for the opener, but Matthews got down to make the save.

But Sheppard did score on 35 minutes, his 25-yard strike deflecting off Mark Cooling and over the unfortunate Matthews.

Tommy Wright's side did have a chance to level four minutes later, but Rovers 'keeper Thompson raced off his line to bravely block Scott Davidson.

A minute later it was 2-0 to the visitors, persistence paying off as the home defence failed to clear and Kilduff slotted in from 15 yards.

The home side, with a very young midfield, had nothing to lose after the break and they pressed when they could.

Thompson saved from Davidson before the Whites had several scrambled efforts in the box following some continental style punching from Thompson.

But it was game and tie effectively over when Kelly headed home on 67 minutes. The hosts were then reduced to 10 men with Cooling given a straight red card for a challenge on Kavanagh 12 minutes from time.

Rovers could even have added a fourth three minutes from the end when Kavanagh broke, but Matthews saved with his legs.

  • Limerick FC and the FAI have resolved their differences, according to a joint statement last night.

Lisburn Distillery -- Matthews, Devlin, Simpson, Curran, McShane, Forsythe, G.Thompson, Cooling, Davidson, Browne (Hughes 76), Liggett (Cushley 69). Subs: Muir, Hunter, Kilmartin, Scott, Traynor.

Shamrock Rovers -- R Thompson, Stevens (Sullivan 62), Oman, Flynn, McCormack, Kavanagh, Rice, O'Donnell, Sheppard, Kelly, Kilduff. Subs: Mannus,, McCabe, Twigg, Turner, Dennehy, Finn.

Ref -- R Dunlop (Carrickfergus).

Irish Independent

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