Sunday 25 February 2018

High drama as McGuinness rescues Rovers

Shamrock Rovers 1 Limerick FC 1

Referee Rob Rogers sends off Limerick FC goalkeeper Barry Ryan in injury time to hand Shamrock Rovers a penalty. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Referee Rob Rogers sends off Limerick FC goalkeeper Barry Ryan in injury time to hand Shamrock Rovers a penalty. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Shamrock Rovers' Robert Bayly is instructed to send it long by his teammate as Limerick's Jason Hughes bears down on him. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Limerick FC's Rory Gaffney in action against Simon Madden of Shamrock Rovers during last night's clash at the Tallaght Stadium. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Shamrock Rovers' Sean O'Connor strikes a penalty only to see it saved by Limerick FC's replacement goalkeeper, midfielder Shane Tracy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Cian O'Connell

For 90-plus minutes, it was proving to be a demoralising and frustrating night for Shamrock Rovers, but the Hoops produced a last-gasp effort to rescue a point at the end of a bizarre match.

Rovers were behind in stoppage-time when Rob Rogers awarded them a second penalty following a foul by Limerick goalkeeper Barry Ryan in an area stuffed with bodies.

With Ryan having been given his marching orders, midfielder Shane Tracy took over in goal and saved substitute Sean O'Connor's spot-kick only for Jason McGuinness to head home the rebound.

It meant the spoils were shared and Rovers had avoided a potentially damaging loss.

Tough in the tackle and energetic all over the park, with Rory Gaffney offering a leggy threat in attack, Limerick were primed for a battle.

Rovers had plenty of possession in the first half and Ciaran Kilduff and Kieran Marty Waters spurned chances before Limerick went ahead in the 14th minute. Tracy's free-kick located Gaffney, who supplied the required header.

Twelve minutes after the restart, Trevor Croly introduced Karl Sheppard to partner Ciaran Kilduff up front.

Rovers were camped in Limerick territory but, with Ronan Finn suspended, there was a distinct lack of subtlety to their play, although that didn't matter when they were awarded a penalty on 64 minutes.

Referee Rogers' decision to penalise a Limerick defender in a packed area for handball was hotly disputed – goalkeeping coach Eddie Hickey was ordered from the technical area – and the visitors felt that justice was done when Ryan saved Gary McCabe's spot-kick.

Shamrock Rovers – Murphy; Madden, Cornwall, McGuinness, Byrne; Brennan, Robinson, Bayly (Sheppard, 57); McCabe, Kilduff, Waters (O'Connor, 77).

Limerick FC – Ryan; Kelly, Oji, Folan, Williams; Tracy, Agyemang (Galbraith, 71), Hughes, Duggan, McGrath (Rainsford, 79); Gaffney (Mann, 90).

Referee – R Rogers (Dublin).

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