World news – IN – Shamrock Rovers condemn Shelbourne to relegation playoffen


Shamrock Rovers’ Aaron Greene scores their second goal of the game in the Airtricity League win over Shelbourne Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Shelbourne might feel just a little bit hard done by here When the shortened season was scheduled, facing Rovers on the final night of the campaign may have looked a decent way to wrap up their campaign There was a fair chance that Stephen Bradley’s side would already have been crowned champions and there is something of a tradition that teams who have recently won the title play much like teenagers would be expected to the day after receiving their Leaving Cert results

Sadly for Shelbourne, the opportunities for an extended celebration are not what they usually are at the moment, on top of which Rovers came needing just a draw to become the first team in almost a century to get through an entire campaign unbeaten

If only they had settled for that everyone would have been happy but instead they were slightly riled, it appeared, by Gary Deegan’s derby day antics in midfield Jack Byrne turned on the swagger to put the visitors in front with another one of his specials 22 minutes in and, though the home side gave the effort to save themselves absolutely everything, Aaron Greene turned home a Sean Kavanagh cross on the hour to compound their misery

To their credit they never gave up on the chase but then it is hard to think of a save that they managed to force out of Alan Mannus Their best chances fell to Dan Byrne and Aaron Dobbs but the substitute tried to turn his header into the path of Ciarán Kilduff while the substitute simply missed the target

Longford Town now await in the playoffs and though a performance like this might well be enough against the team that finished fourth in the First Division, the fact that they recently went out of the FAI Cup to ninth-place Athlone, suggests Shels are capable of losing to anyone on their day

In Tallaght a couple of months back, Ian Morris’s had battled their way impressively to a scoreless draw which certainly seemed like a good night’s work at the time Here, there always looked likely to be goals and it was the home side who initially came close to getting off the mark with a couple of set pieces from the right early on clearly unsettling the champions

Karl Sheppard actually headed the second one home and, while the goal was disallowed for offside the hosts appeared to be on to something and much later in the half, when Mark Byrne got forward down that side and curled a long looping ball in towards Dayle Rooney, the few fans and club officials in the main stand seemed divided on whether Joey O’Brien had pushed their man in the back or handled as the two collided, but they all seemed pretty sure that Rob Harvey should have been pointing to the spot

There might have been some wishful thinking involved Rovers were in front by then thanks to Byrne’s goal, scored with a shot to the bottom left corner after he had taken the ball inside his own side’s half, nutmegged Deegan as he turned and then run to the edge of the Shelbourne area Worse, up in Ballybofey, Finn Harps were leading too, courtesy of Adam Foley

Deegan’s night got worse with a needless late challenge on Graham Burke earning him a second yellow which left his side shorthanded through the closing minutes and ruled him out of the playoff Stephen Bradley was sent to the stand not long after His side was comfortably the better of the two, however, and they become the third team ever to go unbeaten, all of them from Rovers and all in 18 game seasons

Shelbourne: Brady; M Byrne, Brennan, D Byrne, O’Hanlon; Quinn (McManus, 47 mins), Deegan; Sheppard (Cetiner, 60 mins), Farrell, Rooney (Dobbs, 60 mins); Kilduff

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Grace, O’Brien, Scales; Marshall, Watts, McEneff, Kavanagh (Lafferty, 75 mins); Byrne (Finn, 63 mins); Burke (Williams, 85 mins), Greene

Shamrock Rovers FC, League of Ireland Premier Division, Shelbourne FC, Finn Harps FC, Derry City FC, Sligo Rovers FC, Dundalk FC

World news – IN – Shamrock Rovers condemn Shelbourne to relegation playoff
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