Match Report – v Shamrock Rovers ‘B’

Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ 1

Shelbourne 1

Report courtesy of

by Macdara Ferris

It was a stalemate in Tallaght Stadium on Sunday afternoon when old Ringsend foes Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne played out a 1-1 draw in their first ever meeting in the First Division. Brian Gannon’s goal cancelled out Daniel Purdy’s superb strike for the Hoops but neither side could find a winner in a hectic closing period.

On a sticky pitch showing signs of wear and tear from recent football and rugby matches, there were few clear cut chances in the first half. Shels did force a couple of early corners but it was the Rovers attack that had the best opportunities in the opening period.

Chris Lyons, playing just behind Rovers first teamer Karl Sheppard, dragged a shot wide seven minutes into the game. Hoops boss Colin Hawkins also had two former Shels players in Rob Cornwall and Robert Bayly in his starting line who were released from Trevor Croly’s squad for this specific game. It was Cornwall who needed to be on his toes to stop Conor Murphy getting onto Jordan Keegan’s excellent pass on 18 minutes.

Shelbourne couldn’t exploit the chances they did create in the first half. Keith Quinn and Bayly were enjoying their tussle in centre midfield and both went into referee Jim McKell’s book. Quinn’s pass gave Lee Murtagh an early sight of goal but he blazed over the Rovers bar when he had more time than he thought.

The best chance of the half fell to the Hoops. Karl Sheppard brought the very best out of Shels’ goalkeeper Greg Murray who had to go full stretch to touch Sheppard’s shot from 30 yards out for a corner. This began a bit of battle between the ‘keeper and striker. Sheppard’s next shot as he got by Willo McDonagh required Murray to gather low to his feet, before he then had to race out of his penalty area to head the ball clear with Sheppard in close attendance.

The Hoops hit the ground running in the second half and hit the bar two minutes into the second period as Ryan Coombes headed Kevin Knight’s cross against the Shelbourne crossbar. Sheppard then had his own headed chance as he got on the end of Nathan Browne’s cross as the right back got up to support the Rovers attack.

Daniel Purdy has been the standout player for Rovers’ B team so far this season. While he had a quiet first half his goal, on 55 minutes had the small home crowd on their feet. Chris Lyons had done well to hold the ball up in the box with his back to goal. Bayly got on to it and pushed a pass into Purdy’s path and he ran at the Shelbourne defence. He faked a shot, took it on further and then with the outside of his foot from the edge of the area curled it into the top corner of the goal.

It took a brilliant save by Murray just after the hour mark to prevent his team going two down to the Hoops. Reacting to Kevin Knight’s header directed back across the goal, the ‘keeper swiped a hand out to somehow save after good work from Lyons and Browne again on the right.

Rovers were made pay for not converting those chances on 67 minutes when Jordan Keegan’s excellent run and shot in the box was parried by Conor O’Malley. The ball fell nicely to Brian Gannon on the edge of the Rovers six yard box and he made no mistake to equalise.

Both teams went in search of the winner in the final quarter of the game. Purdy’s defensive splitting pass towards Sheppard required a great defensive touch by Adam O’Connor to take the ball off Sheppard’s toe. Alan Kehoe then collected Lyon’s deep cross and his centre was headed goalwards by Coombes but was saved. Sheppard’s cross with the outside of his right boot was spilled by Murray but Adam O’Connor was in a good position to clears

Shels’ late pressure required O’Malley to save from Dylan Connolly but they really should been in front when Murtagh pounced on a Rovers defensive mistake. One on one with the goalkeeper though and he couldn’t convert after O’Malley closed him down very quickly.

The draw puts Shels into second place in the table on goal difference just behind Finn Harps while Hawkins’ Hoops must await their first win in the First Division campaign, having drawn three of their four games to date.

Shamrock Rovers B: Conor O’ Malley; Nathan Brown, Corie Treacy (Conor Dunne 35), Robert Cornwall, Alan Kehoe;Daniel Purdy,Ryan Coombes (Ryan Doolin 90+1), Robert Bayly, Kevin Knight; Chris Lyons (Emeka Onwubiko 81), Karl Sheppard.

Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Evan Osam, Jack Watson, Mark Sandford.

Bookings:Robert Bayly (30).

Shelbourne: Greg Murray; Brian Gannon, Adam O’Connor, William McDonagh, Philip Hand; Stephen McDonnell (John Sullivan 60), Jordan Keegan, Dylan Connolly, Keith Quinn; Lee Murtagh, Conor Murphy (Darren Tinnelly 81).

Subs not used: Charlie Tracey, Michael Duffy, Jake Donnelly, Gareth Coughlan, Lee Desmond.

Bookings:Keith Quinn (41), Stephen McDonnell (45+1), Conor Murphy (65)

Referee:Jim McKell.

Attendance: 400 (estimate).

Extratime Man of the Match: Karl Sheppard.

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