by Ed Leahy at Tallaght Stadium
Shamrock Rovers eased through to the quarter-finals of the FAI Ford Cup with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Sheriff YC at Tallaght Stadium.
Thomas Stewart opened the scoring for the Hoops after nine minutes before Shane Robinson slotted home the second 12 minutes later.
The visitors shocked the hosts as John Rock hit back early in the second half but a 65th-minute Mark Quigely penalty sealed the win for Rovers.
Sheriff arrived looking for the scalp of Rovers after qualifying for the third round of the cup beating fellow non-league side Avondale United in the previous round, but it's Rovers who reach the quarter-finals.
But there was a big step up in class facing the northside Dublin side as they looked out of their depth in the opening exchanges.
And that Rovers dominance paid dividends almost immediately as the home side took an early lead when Stewart twisted in the box to smash the ball home, despite Austin O’Neill’s best efforts after getting a strong hand to the ball.
Rovers doubled their tally 13 minutes later after an exquisite flick by Mark Quigley put Robinson clear on goal and the Hoops captain made no mistake to slot the ball home.
A dominant Rovers appeared to take their foot off the pedal as the non-league side eventually worked their way into the contest thanks to some hard work from strikers John Rock and Anthony Kane, while Alan Reilly’s adventurous 3-5-2 formation was beginning to reap rewards.
Stephen Murphy and John Lester were starting to gain the upper hand in midfield and Sheriff were unlucky not to get back into the game with three decent chances within ten minutes, the best of which from Dunne forced a great save from Barry Murphy.
Rovers held on until half-time but again it was the visitors who took control of the game in the early stages of the second and were rewarded with a great goal in the 56th minute.
Sheriff worked the ball well up the left wing as Lester pushed on into an advanced position.
The former League of Ireland stalwart clipped a fine ball to the far post to find Rock unmarked at the back post.
Rock sent his header back across goal as Hoops keeper Murphy could only touch the ball onto the post before crossing the line as Rock celebrated with the large travelling support.
Rovers boss Trevor Croly made an immediate change, which bore fruit straight away as substitute Karl Sheppard was upended by Sheriff keeper O’Neill in the 65th minute and referee Robert Harvey had no doubts awarding the penalty.
Ronan Finn missed from the spot in last week’s league clash with Bohemians but it was Quigley who took the responsibility and calmly slotted the ball home to restore the two-goal lead.
Sheriff’s challenge petered out in the final twenty minutes but not before testing the Rovers goal with keeper Murphy having to remain alert thanks to more impressive work from Rock and substitute Alan McCabe.
Jason McGuinness and Eamon Zayed had chances to increase Rovers lead in the final minutes but both missed the target but the result was never in danger as the Hoops progress.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Conor McCormack, Derek Foran, Jason McGuinness, Conor Powell; Gary McCabe (Karl Sheppard 56), Richie Ryan (James Chambers 83), Ronan Finn, Shane Robinson, Thomas Stewart; Mark Quigley (Eamon Zayed 84).
Subs not used: Shane Fagan, David Elebert,Pat Sullivan, Stephen Rice.
Sheriff YC: Austin O’Neill; Gavin McDermott (Stephen Larkin 69), Paul Murphy, John Lester, Joseph O’Neill; Stephen Murphy, Sean Murphy, Daren Dunne, Kevin Lynch (Alan McCabe 60); Anthony Kane (David Browne 60), John Rock.
Subs not used: Michael Piggott, Joseph Flood, Darren O’Brien, Aidan McGrane.
Referee: Robert Harvey.