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World news – IN – Unbeaten Rovers condemn Shels to relegation play-offen

Securing their tag as 'invincibles', Shamrock Rovers concluded a near-perfect league campaign after goals from Jack Byrne and Aaron Greene gave them victory over Shelbourne at Tolka Park

Securing their tag as ‘invincibles’, Shamrock Rovers concluded a near-perfect league campaign after goals from Jack Byrne and Aaron Greene gave them victory over Shelbourne at Tolka Park 

The win over their Dublin rivals marks the first time a team has gone undefeated in top-level Irish football since Rovers last did the same 93 years ago during the 1926/27 season

While it was ecstasy after a historic and momentous achievement for Stephen Bradley – who was sent to the stands for his protestations over a Dan Byrne tackle late on in the game – and his side, it was disappointment for Shels who face the challenge of Longford in a relegation-play off next week to retain their Premier Division status 

There was a lot on the line for both sides on the night as Shels looked to stop Rovers from making history with a win that would also have saved them a place in the relegation play-off game

It looked like Karl Sheppard had given the Reds the perfect start on nine minutes when the former Rovers striker rose highest in a messy penalty box to head home Gary Deegan’s free-kick 

The explosive celebrations were cut short however, as the linesman quickly raised his flag for offside

Although a 0-0 draw may have safeguarded their unbeaten season that has not been in the DNA of this Stephen Bradley side, who pushed men inside their opponents half

Playing as high up the pitch as you’ll see from a wing-back, Rhys Marshall nearly created the opening when he got the better of Alex O’Hanlon in the box before finding Greene, who failed to keep his effort below the crossbar

The first goal did eventually come on the 22nd minute though, and, not for the first time this season, it was a moment of class from Rovers’ Byrne 

As Gary Deegan dove in to dispossess the Republic of Ireland international, Byrne slipped it through his opponent’s legs and raced into the Shelbourne half 

Using his youth to his advantage, Byrne charged away from the veteran midfielder and went unchallenged on a 40-yard sprint before firing a perfect shot into the furthest part of the bottom left corner 

It was an act of characteristic class for a player who has excelled yet further under Bradley this season

The bad news kept coming for Shels, too Moments later, news filtered in that Finn Harps had taken the lead against Waterford, putting Shelbourne in ninth place on the live league table

That is how the table looked as the league’s matches went to half-time and Shels began to contend with the very real threat of the relegation play-off

Ian Morris’ side came out at the half with renewed energy in their pressing game which put Rovers under strain The experience of Deegan and Sheppard set the intensity while Shane Farrell relentlessly chased the back four

Rovers were struggling but things went their way Sean Kavanagh got free on the left wing and drove a low cross towards Greene This time Greene took the opportunity to fire home his seventh league goal of the season 

A hooked shot from substitute Alex Cetiner from a corner went close for Shelbourne but flew just over Alan Mannus’ goal 

The Reds got their fair share of the ball but failed to create chances throughout the half 

Finding a clear passage down the right wing, Cetiner lifted a magnificent cross to fellow substitute Aaron Dobbs at the back post Although it was just yards from goal the chance was difficult to execute and the 21-year-old’s shot flew awry of the goal

While the Reds didn’t wilfully give up hope, it largely disintegrated with five minutes to go when Deegan was sent off for a second yellow card after fouling Burke on the halfway line The Shels captain had been booked earlier in the half for a similar challenge as he struggled to contain Byrne

Shels were lucky to finish with just 10 men, too Dan Byrne was booked for a very late sliding challenge on Lafferty Slightly spoiling the night for Rovers, Bradley was sent to the stands for his objections against the tackle

For Rovers, attention now turns to retaining the FAI Cup, while Shels face a grueling relegation play-off without their suspended captain next week

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Rhys Marshall, Joey O’Brien, Lee Grace, Liam Scales, Sean Kavanagh (Danny Lafferty, 75); Aaron McEneff, Dylan Watts; Jack Byrne (Ronan Finn, 63); Graham Burke (Dean Williams, 85), Aaron Greene

Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Mark Byrne, Oscar Brennan, Dan Byrne, Alex O’Hanlon; Gary Deegan, Sean Quinn (Brian McManus, 47), Dayle Rooney (Aaron Dobbs, 60), Karl Sheppard (Alex Cetiner, 60); Shane Farrell, Ciaran Kilduff

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

World news – IN – Unbeaten Rovers condemn Shels to relegation play-off
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SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/world-news-in-unbeaten-rovers-condemn-shels-to-relegation-play-offen/?remotepost=552594

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