Greg Bolger cracker breaks down sturdy Finn Harps resolve in Tallaght
Shamrock Rovers 1 Finn Harps 0
Greg Bolger's stunning 79th-minute finish helped Shamrock Rovers to squeeze past the challenge of Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium.
Ollie Horgan's visitors looked set for their third consecutive scoreless draw until Bolger finally broke their resistance in the final-quarter of a scrappy Premier Division affair. However, given they are six points clear of basement side UCD with a vastly-superior goal difference, the Donegal men are virtually guaranteed of a spot in a forthcoming relegation/promotion play-off.
Harps striker Nathan Boyle was close to finding a breakthrough early on, but Hoops netminder Alan Mannus comfortably turned away his strike.
Rovers were the stronger team thereafter. Ronan Finn delivered an enticing cross into the area on 23 minutes and Aaron Greene was inches away from making a connection. Despite the growing influence of Graham Burke and Brandon Kavanagh in the Hoops' attack, they remained deadlocked at the break.
Harps' rigid 5-3-2 formation made life difficult for Stephen Bradley's men, for whom teenager Neil Farrugia was making his debut on the left-flank.
Mark McGinley came to Harps' aid in the 57th-minute when he tipped Finn's effort at an acute angle onto the post. He later produced an outstanding double save from Dylan Watts and Burke, but from the ensuing corner, midfielder Bolger unleashed an unstoppable left-footed strike into the roof of the net.
SHAMROCK ROVERS – Mannus; S Kavanagh, Grace, Lafferty; Finn, B Kavanagh (McEneff 72), Bolger, Watts, Farrugia (Abulu 76); Burke, Greene (Cummins 85).
FINN HARPS – McGinley; Deasy, Ascroft, Smith, Todd, Russell; R Harkin (Doherty 80), G Harkin, Timlin (O’Reilly 69); Boyle (Place 85), McNamee.
REF – D Tomney (Dublin).