Sunday 25 August 2019

Shamrock Roves complete dramatic Tallaght turnaround to keep Europa League hopes alive

Shamrock Rovers 2 Brann 1 (Shamrock Rovers win 4-3 on aggregate)

Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Shamrock Rovers and SK Brann at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jack Byrne of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Shamrock Rovers and SK Brann at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Shamrock Rovers have banked themselves a €260,000 cheque from UEFA, and a date with Cypriot side Apollon Limassol next week after they did what was needed to knock Norwegian side SK Brann out of the Europa League.

Rovers had to work hard for their place in the second qualifying round, despite the advantage of two away goals from the first leg, as Brann felt they had the tie sown up when they took the lead on the night.

But a Rovers fightback led to goals from Jack Byrne and Gary O'Neill and they went through 4-3 on aggregate, with classy Cypriot side Apollon, who are regulars in the group stages of the Europa League, their next opponents.

The sides had sized each other up for long spells of a tense game before sub Karamoko Bamba broke on the counter attack, rounded keeper Alan Mannus and fired Brann in front on 57 minutes.

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley looked to his bench while remaining calm and his subs would play a key role in the winning goal on the night.

Jack Byrne took a pass from Ronan Finn to score his first European goal on 76 minutes to make it 1-1 on the night, away goals enough to send Rovers through if it stayed like that, but on 87 minutes sub Dan Carr raced forward, laid the ball off to Byrne who in turn fed sub O'Neill, his shot getting the better of keeper Hakon Opdal and making sure of progress for Rovers.

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