Shamrock Rovers booked their place in the third round of the FAI Ford Cup with an unconvincing 1-0 win over a depleted Limerick at Tallaght Stadium.

In a sterile first-half, Gary O’Neill wasted the best chance in the 18th minute, blazing over from a wonderful cross by Gary McCabe.

The deadlock was broken in the 68th minute with Stephen O’Donnell tapping home after Barry Ryan had spilled a powerful Daryl Kavanagh drive and Limerick’s woes were complete when Paudie Quinn was dismissed.

It was the visitors who enjoyed the brighter opening and they could have taken the lead as early as the fifth minute but Rory Gaffney saw his goal-bound shot blocked by on the line by Killian Brennan.

Rovers began to find their way as the half progressed and Craig Sives was unlucky to see his glancing header from McCabe’s inswinging centre arrow narrowly wide at Barry Ryan’s near post in the 13th minute.

Five minutes later, McCabe raced clear after a one-two with Gary Twigg but his measured cross into the path of O’Neill was hammered wastefully over the crossbar from six yards.

The remainder of the half was punctuated by errant play with Gaffney warming Oscar Jansson’s hands with a powerful drive in the 37th minute, while Gary McCabe shot straight at Ryan when well placed a minute later.

After Limerick claims for a penalty were denied in the 47th minute, with Sives appearing to handle a Pat Purcell flick, Rovers took the lead through substitute O’Donnell’s simple finish.

The visitors battled gamely in their attempts to force a replay but Quinn’s dismissal effectively ended their chances and Twigg and Kavanagh could have doubled the hosts’ lead by the final whistle.

Shamrock Rovers: Jansson; Gilbert, Sives, Gartland, Powell; McCabe (McCormack, 90), Rice, Brennan (O’Donnell, 60), Dennehy; O’Neill (Kavanagh, 54), Twigg.

Limerick: Ryan; Kelly, Purcell, Guthrie (Daly, 82), S Tracy; C Treacy, O’Leary, McGann, Coughlan (Bradley, 69), McGrath (Quinn, 75); Gaffney.

Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)