Monday 26 February 2018

Drennan brace keeps Hoops in title chase

Shamrock Rovers 3 Galway United 0

Mikey Drennan celebrates after scoring his second goal against Galway
Mikey Drennan celebrates after scoring his second goal against Galway

Jamie Moore

Mikey Drennan is getting used to scoring winning goals for Shamrock Rovers.

His brace last night ended their scoreless run at home - they had failed to score in their previous two home games, against Cork and Bohemians.

Last night's victory moved unbeaten Rovers to within a point of early leaders Dundalk, who play bottom team Limerick today.

Drennan got the winner for the Hoops in their 2-1 victory over Sligo ten days ago and he had his shooting boots on again in Tallaght to see off a Galway United team who have just three points from their opening six matches. Sub Brandon Miele got a late third on his debut.

The opener came in the 18th minute and it was a Galway mistake that let Rovers in as they failed to deal with Simon Madden's long ball.

Goalkeeper Conor Winn rushed from his goal and then hesitated at the edge of his box, he wanted the ball to come in so he could pick it up, but should have volleyed it clear.


That indecision allowed Gavin Brennan to get to the ball ahead of the ex-Rovers keeper to head it into the path of Drennan, who had the simple task of prodding into the empty net.

Keith Fahey, Ryan Brennan and Drennan himself all missed chances to extend Rovers' lead before they eventually got the second goal in the 68th minute.

David O'Connor found ex-Aston Villa striker Drennan and his shot deflected in off Galway defender Andy O'Connell.

Drennan then missed a great chance for his first League of Ireland hat-trick minutes later, as Winn saved his low shot after more good Rovers' play.

Miele replaced Gavin Brennan with six minutes left, and finished into the top corner in added time with one of his first touches to make it 3-0.

Galway are finding life back in the Premier Division difficult. They scored 52 goals as they went up via the play-offs last season and lost just five matches all season, but they have now lost five of their first six games this term.

Their stats don't make pleasant reading - just three goals scored and maybe most tellingly, four red cards.

Galway - watched by President Michael D Higgins last night - play fellow strugglers Sligo, Limerick and Bray in three of their next four games, and they need to pick up points tally against the teams around them.

Galway finished with ten men after Mark Ludden's 77th-minute red card. Their play lacked ambition and confidence, although they did create some chances to equalise but couldn't find a way past Rovers keeper Craig Hyland.

Jason Molloy missed their best opportunity, as his low shot was well saved by Hyland to preserve his fifth clean sheet in six games.

Rovers remain unbeaten and will be aiming to beat Derry City next Friday which will set up the following week's massive home match against Dundalk.

They had started the game slowly in a stadium that lacked atmosphere. The game was short of intensity and Ryan Brennan's shout of "lets get a bit of tempo going" summed up perfectly what the Hoops and their fans needed to do.

Rovers had played Dublin derbies against St Pats and Bohemians as well as Cork City in their opening three home games. Over 4,000 turned up each of those matches. There were nowhere near that number at this game.

Danny North was again ruled out with a knee injury; the Hoops initially missed his scoring touch, but in Drennan they have a young player with bags of pace and energy.

He has got crucial winning goals against Sligo Rovers and now Galway in North's absence.

Pat Fenlon spoke about needing to change his team's mentality at home this season.

Those words will be ringing in the players' ears as they host leaders Dundalk in their next home game in two weeks.

Shamrock Rovers: Hyland; Madden, Webster, Kenna, D O'Connor; G Brennan (Miele, 84), Cregg, R Brennan (McPhail, 71), Waters (S O'Connor, 71); Fahey; Drennan.

Galway United: Winn; Horgan, O'Connell, Garcia, Ludden; Molloy (Connolly, 58), Sinnott, Byrne, Shanahan; Curran (Cunningham, 58); Keegan.

Referee: R Rogers (Dublin).

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