Monday 16 September 2019

Record crowd sees Burke end Rovers' Gypsy curse

Shamrock Rovers 1 Bohemians 0

Aaron Greene of Shamrock Rovers celebrates following his side's victory over Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Aaron Greene of Shamrock Rovers celebrates following his side's victory over Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The league title race may be out of their hands but Shamrock Rovers will today feel that they have taken back control of the Dublin derby, as they finally ended a long wait for a win over Bohemians.

The Gypsies had won the previous four meetings, but that run had to end at some stage and it was a boy from Bohs territory in the north inner city, Graham Burke, who was central, scoring the only goal of the game and then coming up with two goal-line clearances.

Shamrock Rovers supporters following the match. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers supporters following the match. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Burke scored midway through a first half in which his side were dominant, this game watched by a crowd of 7,021, a record for a league game at Tallaght Stadium, but they were unable to add to that scoreline.

Bohs, off the pace and off form in the first half, were a different animal in the second 45 minutes, and had long spells of possession where Rovers 'keeper Alan Mannus - a spectator in the first half - was kept busy.

Burke will get the plaudits for his role in the victory but the key man for Rovers was midfielder Gary O'Neill, the Kerry native hoping that last night's win was just the first big sporting moment for Kingdom people in Dublin this weekend.

This derby is always tense but the opening stages were more about tackles and yellow cards than flowing football, neither side able to get to grips with the game and make something happen.

Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers clears the ball off the line following a shot from Rob Cornwall of Bohemians. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers clears the ball off the line following a shot from Rob Cornwall of Bohemians. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Cheaply

On 26 minutes, Rovers found a way and found their goal. Bohs had given away possession too cheaply, the ball fell for wide man Seán Kavanagh and when his cross landed in the box, Burke evaded his marker and headed past James Talbot, a second goal in four days for Burke as he settles in for his second spell as a Hoop.

Rovers 'keeper Mannus remained untested and untroubled, the best Bohs could manage being a header from Danny Grant.

After a poor first half from them, Bohs looked a lot brighter after the break. On the hour mark they came very close to an equaliser after Danny Mandroiu sent in a corner, as Rovers needed Burke to clear off the line twice, first from Darragh Leahy and immediately after that from Rob Cornwall.

That near-constant pressure from Bohs could not yield a goal and Rovers threatened to add a second on the break before the final pass regularly let them down.

Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Graham Burke of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The visitors had other efforts from Andre Wright and Conor Levingston but they couldn't find the equaliser as their winning run in the derby came to an end.

Rovers still have league leaders Dundalk in their sights but with only six games remaining, they are likely to have to win every one of them if they are to close the gap which stands at four points, and Dundalk have two games in hand.

If they needed a springboard, however, last night was a good place to start.

Shamrock Rovers - Mannus; O'Brien, Lopes, Grace; S Kavanagh; Finn (Lafferty 78), O'Neill, McEneff, Byrne (B Kavanagh 87); Greene, Burke (Bolger 66),
Bohemians - Talbot; Pender, Cornwall, Finnerty, Leahy; Levingston, Buckley; Grant, Mandroiu, Tierney (Wade-Slater 58); Wright.
ReF - R Hennessy

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