CHAMPIONS RECOVER AFTER MCDONAGH GOAL

16 March 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Shamrock Rovers 3
Monaghan Utd 1

PETER HUGHES REPORTS
The class of champions ultimately reasserted itself at the Tallaght Stadium on Friday night when Shamrock Rovers recovered from a stunning third minute concession to newly promoted Monaghan United to run out ultimately convincing winners on a 3-1 scoreline.
In the end no old ghosts were laid to rest on Mons’ boss Roddy Collins’ return to what were ultimately unhappy hunting grounds in his previous managerial life.
Yet for almost an hour his combative side, thanks to some tigerish midfield resistance and some untypical sputtering from the normally smooth-running Hoops football machine, sustained a redemptive dream for their boss, who got the rough end of the tongues of a sizeable section of the home following when he made his way to the dug-out prior to kick-off.
But soon events on the field were to preoccupy the long-memoried Tallaght tiraders.
Rovers had given hints of a powerhouse start when Gary Twigg brought Chris Bennion into action with a well-struck effort from Billy Dennehy’s cross, but the early flurry was deceptive.
United silenced the stadium in the fourth minute. Darragh Reynor lofted a free-kick into the Hoops’ penalty area, where sturdy central midfielder Willo McDonagh asserted himself to guide a backward header beyond Oscar Jansson – another instance of a club’s former player returning to haunt them.
Rovers hit back with some excellent passing play leading to a chance for Killian Brennan, but his eventual shot was stifled by a hard-working Mons defence.
But the ease with which the Hoops connected the passing dots both before and after the McDonagh goal deserted them for a spell, with United’s busy midfield trio of McDonagh, Keith Quinn and Jordan Keegan harrying them into repeated error. Twigg’s shot in the 24th minute from Ronan Finn’s accurate ball was badly off the mark as home frustrations became audible.
While most of the Mons’ energy was expended in stifling the Rovers’ threat – Owen Humphrey in particular doing a stellar job of restraining the creative impetus customarily supplied by raiding full- back Kerrea Gilbert – they did manage some swift counter-thrusts at the Rovers’ goal, but they failed to capitalise on a number of corners they forced.
Rovers should, however, have drawn level in the 31st minute. Dennehy’s raking cross found Brennan and his powerful drive looked set to ripple the net when a deflection off Alan Byrne lifted it high of its intended destination.
The Mons suddenly looked vulnerable, and …

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