by Glenn Mason
A goal in each half from Brazilian-born striker De Oliveira Amauri gave Juventus a 2-0 win over a spirited Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League at Tallaght Stadium.
Amauri put Juve ahead in the third minute after a one-two with Diego on the edge of the box and he made the game safe with a deft header midway through the second half.
Rovers worked tirelessly all evening, but had nothing to show for it in the scoreline. Captain Dan Murray came closest with a header just after half-time.
The Hoops may have been out-played and out-thought for much of the game, but there is no shame is losing to this quality of opposition.
They will have never had to work as hard in a game and the fans responded to that effort by applauding their weary team off the pitch at the end.
The gulf in class was shown as World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero made a brief cameo at the end for the Serie A side.
Rovers' main threat domestically is striker Gary Twigg, but he was kept quiet by Juve central pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
Luigi Delneri had called for his side to show the right attitude and they responded with a clinical display of ball retention and movement in the opening stages, which prevented Rovers building any momentum.
Rovers would have hoped for the physical advantage by being midway through their season, but Juventus were always two or three steps ahead.
When Rovers did get the ball in the opening period they looked nervous and indecisive and it took them 20 minutes to settle into the rhythm of the game.
Michael O'Neill said afterwards that he was proud of the character and commitment his players had shown but that a sense of disappointment lingered.
The Hoops were unchanged from team that beat Bnei Yehuda in previous round, while Delneri could afford to leave Del Piero and David Trezeguet on the bench.
It looked ominous for the Hoops when they went behind after a neat interchange between Amauri and Diego. Amauri supplied the finish by dinking the ball over Alan Mannus.
Simone Pepe and Diego both went close as the visitors threatened to run riot, but a driving run into the box by Thomas Stewart lifted Rovers' spirits.
Pepe and Davide Lanzafame both wasted good opportunities to widen their side's advantage and Rovers were grateful for a little rustiness from Juve in the final third.
The game became quiet heated when Pepe was booked for a tackle on Chris Turner after Robert Bayly did not return an uncontested 'hop ball'.
Spurred on by the fracas that followed the incident, Rovers pushed forward and Aidan Price headed over from James Chambers' corner.
Murray could have made himself a hero just after the restart put his powerful header went narrowly wide.
Amauri thought he had doubled the advantage but his shot rebounded off the post and Rovers hoofed the ball away. However, he did not have to wait too long to get his second goal.
Rovers were caught cold by a quick free-kick and Motta's cross found Amauri at the back post. His downward header went in off the same post that had denied him minutes previously.
Juve were content to hit Rovers on the counter-attack as the home side went chasing the game, with Thomas Stewart causing the most problems for the Italians.
Del Piero was given a rapturous reception on his arrival and almost passed in a third goal soon after. Fortunately for Rovers, his low effort went narrowly wide.
The tie may be over but Rovers head to Modena next week with plenty to be happy about after a night of mixed emotions in Tallaght.
Shamrock Rovers: 1 Mannus, 4 Sives, 24 Murray, 5 Price, 3 Stevens; 8 Chambers (15 Kavanagh '78), 6 Rice (20 Dennehy '66), 18 Turner, 25 Bayly (7 Bradley '90), 23 Stewart; 9 Twigg.
Subs: 16 Jennings, 13 Flynn, 17 O'Connor, 19 Murphy.
Juventus: 32 Storari,; 2 Motta, 3 Chiellini, 19 Bonucci, 29 De Ceglie, 5 Sissoko, 8 Marchisio (27 Ekdal '89), 20 Lanzafame (25 Martinez '52), 23 Pepe; 28 Diego (10 Del Piero '82), 11 Amauri.
Subs not used: 13 Manninger, 17 Trezeguet, 21 Grygera, 34 Ferrero.
Booked: Pepe, Marchisio.
Referee: D Fernandez Borbalan (Spain).