Graham Burke bids farewell to Shamrock Rovers in perfect fashion
GRAHAM BURKE showed Shamrock Rovers fans what they’ll miss as he signed off by helping the Hoops jump into fourth place.
The 24-year-old, who Preston North End recruited last week for €300,000 to expand their Irish legion, set up the opener against Limerick for local Joel Coustrain on the stroke of half-time before adding a second shortly after the interval.
He almost added the gloss with his 14th goal of the season only for his sumptuous free-kick from all of 35 yards to clip the post.
Rovers had Joey O’Brien to thank for clearing Mark O’Sullivan’s header off the line after just 15 minutes.
Gradually, however, Burke began getting the measure of Killian Cantwell and he created the breakthrough with a surging dart to the end-line.
Despite Limerick having two chances to snuff out the cross from the left, the loose ball was hammered into the bottom corner by Coustrain.
The concession was harsh on the hosts, given the control they seemed to have till that point, yet the shambolic nature of it highlighted why they’ve conceded an average of two goals per game.
Matters went from bad to worse for Tommy Barrett’s side within two minutes of the restart. Once again, they were exposed in the wide areas by another brisk Rovers break.
Although captain Ronan Finn was first to connect with a right-wing cross, Burke gained possession and hurtled a 10-yard shot beyond Brendan Clarke.
Substitutes Brandon Kavanagh and Sean Boyd went close late on for Rovers, the latter being denied by a brilliant Clarke save.
LIMERICK – Clarke; Cantwell, Brouder (Whitehead 68), Wearen, B Dennehy; Tracy (Walsh-O’Loughlen 77), Coleman; Fitzgerald (K O’Sullivan 65), Duggan, Kearns; M O’Sullivan.
SHAMROCK ROVERS – Bazunu; Boyle, O’Brien, Grace, Kavanagh; Bone (B Kavanagh 68), G Bolger; Coustrain, Finn, Burke (McAllister 85); Carr (Boyd 76)
Ref – Sean Grant (Wexford).