The local issue of a Dublin derby is proving to be a real stumbling block for Shamrock Rovers’ ambitions of becoming national champions, the league leaders frustrated by one of their local rivals for the second time in six days.
overs remain top of the table, five points ahead of Bohemians, but the last two outings have brought frustration, a second successive scoreless draw when they had enough possession to win the game many times over.
The Hoops were unable to break down a dogged St Patrick’s Athletic side last Sunday and on Friday night, Shelbourne came to Tallaght Stadium with a game-plan that was executed perfectly, the Reds’ back four a busy unit but one that always looked in control.
To add to their frustration, Rovers had to play out the closing stages with 10 men, as when sub Rory Gaffney went off injured soon after he’d come on, the Hoops had already used their allocated slots of three separate substitutions.
Shels ’keeper Colin McCabe was busy but was able to deal with what was thrown at him.
Jack Byrne came up with the move of the day on 31 minutes, sprinting down the left and beating three Reds players with a mazy run but his cross was cleared.
Shels had soaked up that pressure and forced something themselves on 37 minutes. Alan Mannus was unconvincing in collecting a high cross from the impressive Georgie Poynton, winger Dayle Rooney won possession after Mannus dropped the ball, but Rooney’s shot was off target.
The second half had more of the same, Rovers with possession but little in the way of end product.
Nine minutes from time, Rhys Marshall, set up by Aaron McCabe, tried to make an opening but was blocked by more stout defending from Ian Morris’ side.
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Lopes, Scales, O’Brien (Gaffney 63); McEneff, O’Neill; Finn (Marshall 59), Byrne, Farrugia; Burke; Greene.
Shelbourne: McCabe; Poynton, D Byrne, L Byrne, O’Hanlon; Deegan, Quinn; Farrell (Kabia 63), R Brennan (Dobbs 83), Rooney; Kilduff (M Byrne 83).
Referee: Rob Harvey