Shamrock Rovers 3-0 UCD
Shamrock Rovers proved too strong for lowly UCD as the Hoops enjoyed a 3-0 victory in the SSE Airtricity League clash at Tallaght Stadium.
The relegation threatened students remain with no wins in ten games as goals from Ryan Brennan, a stunner from Sean O’Connor and a penalty from Gary McCabe sealed the points for the Hoops.
UCD will have been disappointed with another weak display with relegation looming but the scoreline could have been bigger only for some fine goalkeeping by Conor O’Donnell.
The young stopper was at hand to keep out Pat Fenlon’s side on a number of occasions who looked to set down a marker ahead of the FAI Ford Cup semi-final on Sunday.
The Hoops had the majority, and the best, of the chances in this tie with the first just after three minutes when Brennan’s blistering header was saved.
It didn’t take the home side long after that to score - three minutes later to be exact - when Brennan used his initiative to beat the offside trap and flick home a Luke Byrne cross.
Rovers fielded a second string side with one eye on the cup tie at the weekend but also one eye on next season as Fenlon looks to put his own stamp on the squad.
The intensity was evident throughout the team but embodied in creative midfielder Sean O’Connor.
His goal was worth the admission fee alone as he danced through the UCD defence, to curl a wonderful shot around the helpless O’Donnell.
UCD manager Aaron Callaghan will be unhappy with the nature of the defeat with so much to play for the Belfield club with a relegation scrap looming.
Callaghan tried to inject some life into his ailing team, even going as far to move the team talk to the dugout.
That wasn’t enough though as Rovers wrapped up the win early in the second half when winger McCabe scored from the penalty spot after the referee deemed Hugh Douglas to have handled the ball.
Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland; Simon Madden, Conor Kenna, David O’Connor, Luke Byrne; Sean O’Connor, Shane Robinson, Patrick Cregg (Bayly, 20), Ryan Brennan, Gary McCabe (Cian Kavanagh, 74); Ciaran Kilduff (Kelly, 66).
UCD: Conor O’Donnell; Gareth Matthews, Hugh Douglas, Ian Ryan, Sean Coyne; Colm Crowe (Simon, 42), Chris Mulhall (Belhout, 68), Robbie Creevy, Robbie Benson, Ayman Ben Mohammed; Conor Cannon (James Kavanagh, 74).
Referee: Derek Tormney.