Friday 15 December 2017

Soccer in Brief

Rovers clinch EA Sports Cup

Gary McCabe and Tommy Stewart produced the goals which gave Shamrock Rovers a 2-0 win and the

EA Sports Cup, their second trophy of the season, at Tallaght Stadium last night.

Rovers defended deep and defended well, packing the central areas of the park, knowing Drogheda were unlikely to hurt them down the flanks.

On 11 minutes referee Padraigh Sutton awarded Rovers a penalty when he decided that Shane Grimes had tripped Billy Dennehy in the box. Gary McCabe finished powerfully from the spot to give Rovers the lead.

In the 57th minute they got their second when Stewart, through on goal, calmly placed his shot beyond Michael Schlingermann and into the Drogheda net to cap the victory.

Rovers: Murphy; Sullivan, McGuinness, Oman, Powell; Finn, Robinson, Ryan, Dennehy (0'Connor 81); McCabe (Elebert 71), Stewart (Zayed 90).

Drogheda: Schlingermann; Daly, McNally, Prendergast, Grimes; Byrne (Foley 62); Cassidy (Rusk 87), O'Connor (Hynes 74), R Brennan, G Brennan; O'Brien.

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Celtic recovered from their midweek European frustration with a 2-1 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead which leaves them level with Inverness at the top of the SPL table.

Finnish striker Teemu Pukki opened the scoring with a drive in the 10th minute with midfielder Charlie Mulgrew adding a second in the 26th minute.

St Johnstone substitute Liam Caddis pulled one back with nine minutes remaining, but the Hoops hung on for the final whistle.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon said: "I thought the first half we were fantastic, the best we've played this season and it was after a big Champions League game in midweek, so I take my hat off to the players, it is a big, big win."

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QPR manager Harry Redknapp hailed summer recruit Richard Dunne after the centre-back inspired his side to a 1-0 victory at Yeovil.

Rangers maintained their unbeaten start to the Championship after a Charlie Austin penalty 15 minutes from time separated the sides.

The QPR boss admitted his side were fortunate to get the three points – but reserved praise for Dunne, who helped the league leaders notch a sixth successive clean sheet.

"When I brought Richard into the club this summer I slept a lot easier because I knew we were signing a top player, a captain of his country and a Premier League player. If he stays fit, we have got a great centre-half," Redknapp said.

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A first-half hat-trick by the outstanding Claire Shine was the highlight at Dalymount Park last night, as the Republic of Ireland women's side got their under 19 Championship qualifying campaign off to a dream start with a 7-0 Group Two victory over Kazakhstan, writes Daire Walsh.

Ireland took the lead after 23 minutes, when Shine broke through on goal, before finishing calmly. Katie McCabe's strike was followed by an inch-perfect strike from a 30-yard free-kick by midfield lynchpin Shauna Newman to stretch the lead to 3-0.

The hosts continued to dominate, with Shine adding two more to take a 5-0 advantage into the second half. They extended their cushion even further with a second emphatic effort by McCabe.

Captain Chloe Mustaki added a seventh, as Ireland gave themselves the perfect tonic ahead of the games against Greece and Denmark in the coming week.

Republic of Ireland: Maloney; Dwyer, O'Connell, Mustaki, Rossiter; Newman; O'Connor, Carson (Frawley 46), Doyle, McCabe (Barrett 79); Shine.

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Burnley continue to defy those who said they would struggle without the goals of Charlie Austin, this time with a 2-1 win at Leeds.

When Austin headed to QPR in the summer it was asked how Burnley were going to function, considering he had done the bulk of their damage over recent seasons.

But first-half strikes from Scott Arfield and Sam Vokes ensured another win for Burnley, who went second in the Championship in spite of Matt Smith's late header.

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Defending champion Bayern Munich routed Schalke 4-0 to join Borussia Dortmund atop the Bundesliga yesterday.

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored with a header before Mario Mandzukic made it 2-0 with the home side still reeling.

Franck Ribery added a third before Claudio Pizarro scored a fourth to seal it after coming on as a substitute.

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