Sunday 22 April 2018

Sheppard opportunism steers Rovers to points

Galway 0 Shamrock Rovers 1

Two teams with vastly different ambitions collided at Terryland Park, as Shamrock Rovers maintained their encouraging start to the season with a routine victory.

Survival dominates Galway United's thoughts, while the Hoops remain intent on capturing more.

The 2010 league triumph has merely whetted the appetite and last night's conclusion to the first series of fixtures brought a victory that owed much to the opportunism of Karl Sheppard.

Galway craved a positive start, but were left reeling as Rovers started with the drive and desire of a team wholly intent on retaining their crown.

Prompted by midfielders Stephen Rice and Ronan Finn, the Hoops were posing questions of a young Galway outfit and the visitors pinched a seventh-minute goal.

Gary McCabe, a threat on the right, slung a delightful delivery into the area, and Sheppard -- who flared to prominence in the maroon of Galway last year -- provided a crafty headed finish.

Rovers were in the groove and they really should have added a second moments later when Shaun Maher failed to clear a Sheppard cross, but Gary O'Neill was thwarted by a Greg Fleming save.

Sean Connor, though, somehow manages to get every drop of defiance out of his blend of youthful and experienced players, and Galway battled to the finish.

Galway United -- Fleming; Shaun Kelly, Maher (Feeney 38), Walsh, Sinnott; Ryan (Cash 27), Sean Kelly, G Kelly, Moore; Keogh (Gilmore 70); Murphy.

Shamrock Rovers -- Mannus; Sullivan, Murray, Oman, Stevens; McCabe (Kilduff, 71), Rice, Finn, Dennehy; Sheppard, O'Neill (Kavanagh, 83).

Ref -- P Tuite (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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