Shamrock Rovers beat Derry City 2-1 in an entertaining Airtricity League Premier Division encounter at Tallaght Stadium.
Two quality goals from Seán O’Connor - one in each half - either side of an equalising Derry penalty were enough to see the Hoops claim all three points.
Rovers dominated the first half with Ronan Finn, Billy Dennehy and Seán O’Connor linking well without getting new signing Éamon Zayed through on goal for a clear-cut chance.
The home side had a loud shout for a penalty waved away after just seven minutes.
Neat passing in and around the area from O’Connor and Zayed gave Finn a chance to cross inside the area. As he went to sent the ball back towards Zayed, a tackle came in from Barry Molloy.
Much to the surprise of the Rovers’ support, the referee saw no foul.
On 14 minutes Simon Madden was called into action to send a header over the bar under pressure from Dennehy. In doing so he broke the net resulting in a delay to the match restarting.
For the next 25 minutes, Rovers had virtually all the ball, and although they couldn’t find a breakthrough, Dennehy’s shot on 20 minutes which he pulled wide, Oman’s header from an O’Connor corner on 26 and Chambers’ free header on the half-hour mark, again from an O’Connor corner, would have given them cause to be hopeful.
The goal, when it came, was certainly worth waiting for, and worth tuning in to MNS to see. Good build up play from the home side on their left hand side, particularly from Dennehy and Finn, saw Barry Molloy attempt a clearance inside the area.
He could only watch as his header fell to Seán O’Connor who struck the sweetest of left-footed volleys low into the corner to Ger Doherty’s right, and Shamrock Rovers deservedly led.
A blistering start to the second half saw two goals and one further goalscoring chance missed in a n eventful three-minute spell. First, Barry McNamee contrived to send a free-header wide.
Derek Foran’s attempted back pass was intercepted by Derry’s recent signing Eoghan Osborne, who sent the ball across to McNamee, eight yards out and central, but he could not hit the target.
Rovers did not heed the warning, and one minute later Osborne drove into the box on the left hand side only to be upended by Dennehy. Michael Rafter made no mistake with the penalty and the sides were level.
Parity did not last long, however, and it was another piece of brilliance from Sean O’Connor which saw Rovers retake the lead. He picked the ball up 30 yards out on the rights hand side, cut inside and curled one past Doherty, giving the Derry keeper no chance.
O’Connor could have turned provider on 76 minutes, but there was no-one to meet his excellent cross from inside the box.
Finn could have made certain near the death, but could only hit the outside of the post, after he found space inside the box to shoot. Thankfully for him Rovers held on and his miss was moot.
Shamrock Rovers: Richard Brush, Derek Foran, Ken Oman, Pat Sullivan, Conor Powell, Seán O’Connor (Gary McCabe 85), James Chambers (Shane Robinson 64), Stephen Rice, Billy Dennehy, Ronan Finn, Éamon Zayed (Karl Sheppard 58)
Derry City: Ger Doherty, Barry Molloy, Stuart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Ruaidhrí Higgins (Ryan Curran 72), Patrick Cavanaugh (Mark Griffin 78), Michael Rafter (David McDaid 64), Simon Maddeen, Eoghan Osborne, Michael Duffy, Barry McNamee
Referee: P Sutton