Tuesday 19 March 2019

Watts powers Hoops' early push

Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Derry City

Aaron McEneff of Shamrock Rovers, centre, celebrates with team-mates Ethan Boyle, left, and Sean Kavanagh, after scoring his side's second goal against Derry City. Photo: Sportsfile
Aaron McEneff of Shamrock Rovers, centre, celebrates with team-mates Ethan Boyle, left, and Sean Kavanagh, after scoring his side's second goal against Derry City. Photo: Sportsfile

So far, so good for Shamrock Rovers as they make an early push for the title while their title rivals slip and slide.

Goals in each half by Dylan Watts and Aaron McEneff, coupled with a late red card for Derry substitute Jamie McDonagh, gave them a deserved victory in front of 4,552 fans in Tallaght.

Two games and six points in the 2019 season so far and their mishaps of previous years under Stephen Bradley's reign could be a distant memory.

Aaron Greene fashioned a couple of early chances, drawing Peter Cherrie into a save and having a goal disallowed for offside.

The goal they were threatening arrived on 28 minutes.

Derry's suspect defence was exposed from Sean Kavanagh's left-wing cross, with Ally Gilchrist's weak header finished off by a low drive from Watts.

Derry settled early in the second half, holding their own in the midfield exchanges, yet they were unable to trouble Alan Mannus.

Indeed, Rovers should have doubled their lead through Kavanagh.

The left-back, pushed up to the wing when Trevor Clarke was brought on, raided into the box to get a sight on goal, only for Cherrie's leg to deflect his effort around the post.

Former Derry player McEneff added the second with 12 minutes left. Eoin Toal's handball in the box against a low shot Orhan Vojic led to a penalty and the Foylesider deftly chipped his penalty down the middle.

McDonagh soon deepened the Derry woe by receiving a straight red for a needless lunge on Clarke.

SHAMROCK ROVERS - Mannus; Boyle, Lopes, Grace, Kavanagh; McEneff, Watts (Bolger 63), Byrne, Finn, Carr (T Clarke 61); Greene (Vojic 73)

DERRY CITY - Cherrie; Kerr (McDonagh, 46), Gilchrist, Toal, McClean; Sloggett, Harkin; Stokes, McNamee, Ogedi-Uzokwe (McCrudden 63); Parkhouse.

REF - R Hennessy (Limerick).

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