Sport League of Ireland

Saturday 15 December 2018

Burke keeps his cool to send Shamrock Rovers up to second

Limerick FC 0 Shamrock Rovers 1

Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers celebrates
Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers celebrates

SHAMROCK Rovers moved up to second place in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division after seeing off Limerick at a chilly Markets Field yesterday evening.

The visitors dominated possession for large spells of the game and eventually found the net with 15 minutes remaining when Graham Burke dispatched a neatly-taken penalty beyond Brendan Clarke.

There was a boisterous pace to the match in the opening exchanges, with Limerick taking the game to the Hoops early on, Tommy Barrett’s men buoyed by their impressive result against Cork City last Friday.

Teenage winger Will Fitzgerald has been a stand-out player for the Blues in the opening weeks of the season and he almost punished Rovers on nine minutes when, from Clarke’s long punt, he got to the ball ahead of the onrushing Tomer Chencinski and bore down on goal, but Roberto Lopes got back to cut out the danger.

Rovers’ first opportunity of note came in the 17th minute when Chris Kavanagh’s low cross was well cut out by Killian Brouder, with Gary Shaw lurking in the six-yard box had the Limerick defender not been so alert.

The remainder of the first half was played mostly in Limerick’s half of the field, but the Blues coped with anything was thrown at them and largely restricted Rovers to ambitious long-range efforts, including a couple of Burke free-kicks which flew high and wide of the target.

Despite being bossed for large spells, Limerick threatened on occasion and Killian Cantwell came close with a 30-yard effort early in the second half. Billy Dennehy caused a scare for the Rovers defence when his low free-kick from the left beat everyone and sailed just wide.

It was a frustrating evening for Shaw and he was withdrawn for Dan Carr, who almost made an instant impact when he flicked a header just wide with his first touch just after coming on.

Rovers were finding it tough to penetrate the home defence but were given the perfect opportunity to score on 74 minutes when Shaun Kelly hacked down Ronan Finn in the penalty area, with Graham Kelly wasting little time in pointing to the spot.

Burke kept his cool to thump the spot-kick past Clarke and put the Hoops in front.

Limerick were handed a lifeline in the 83rd minute when Sean Kavanagh was sent off for rashly kicking out at Dennehy and the home side laid siege to Rovers’ goal in the final few minutes, but were unable to make the breakthrough.

At the other end, Carr should have made it 2-0 in stoppage time, only to fire wide with an open goal on a Rovers counter-attack.

Having lost their two previous away games, Stephen Bradley will no doubt be relieved to see his team take advantage of Dundalk and Waterford not being in action to move up to second, while Limerick stay sixth after their first home defeat of the season.

LIMERICK FC – Clarke; Kelly (McGowan 79), Whitehead (Foley 89), Brouder, B Dennehy; Coleman, Cantwell; Fitzgerald, Duggan, Cameron (K O’Sullivan 63); Ellis.

SHAMROCK RoverS – Chencinski; Boyle, Grace, Lopes, Clarke; Bone, Finn; Coustrain (Miele 73), Burke (Byrne 86), Kavanagh; Shaw (Carr 64).

REF – G Kelly (Cork)

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport