Sheppard sends Rovers into break on high note
SHAMROCK ROVERS 1, LIMERICK 0
Karl Sheppard's 30th-minute goal helped Shamrock Rovers register a deserved 1-0 victory over Limerick in their Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Tallaght Stadium.
In doing so, the Hoops enter the mid-season break in a far more positive frame of mind, given their travails over the early part of their campaign.
The hosts started on the front foot and enjoyed the first genuine chance of the game in the fourth minute, but James Chambers' shot from a partially cleared Billy Dennehy delivery was directed close to Barry Ryan, who gathered comfortably.
With Stephen Rice characteristically busy in the home midfield, Rovers continued to dominate and an ambitious Conor Powell attempt in the 10th minute had Ryan back-pedalling to palm away to safety.
Despite their territorial inferiority, the visitors carved upon the home defence in the 18th minute with a surging run from Patrick Nzuzi finding Galbraith in front of goal but Richard Brush advanced smartly to block his goal-bound attempt.
However, Rovers remained largely in control and they finally broke the deadlock in routine fashion on the half-hour mark.
Chambers swung a well-flighted corner-kick towards the near post and Sheppard was on hand to flick deftly to the net from six yards.
Despite the poverty of their first-half performance, Limerick improved immediately upon the restart with Rory Gaffney eluding Derek Foran in the 53rd minute but his subsequent shot had insufficient power to trouble Brush in the home goal.
With the rain teeming down, both sides struggled to adapt to the treacherous underfoot conditions although the lively Finn managed to escape down the left-wing in the 68th minute with his resultant cross badly scuffed by substitute Ciaran Kilduff.
Rice was unfortunate once again in the 73rd minute as his powerful low shot was deflected wide following a clever free-kick routine involving Finn as the Hoops pressed for an insurance goal.
Despite a degree of late pressure, the visitors failed to create a chance of note and their disappointment was compounded by the late dismissal of substitute Jeffrey Judge for a stamp on Rice in injury time.
Shamrock Rovers –Brush; McCormack, Oman, Foran, Powell; O'Connor (Stewart, 89), Chambers (Sullivan, 86), Finn, Rice, Dennehy; Sheppard (Kilduff, 59).
Limerick – Ryan; Costello (Sheedy, 73), Williams, Foran, Nzuzi; Treacy, Galbraith (Rainsfort, 67), O'Leary (Judge, 87), Bradley, Bossekota; Gaffney.
Ref – N Doyle (Dublin)