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Shamrock Rovers 3 – 0 St. Patrick’s Athletic Match Report

From http://extratime.ie/fixtures/detail/18335/2/

Shamrock Rovers 3 – 0 St. Patrick’s Athletic

While many eyes on Monday afternoon were on Giovanni Trapattoni’s Euro 2012 Squad announcement that contained six former League of Ireland players, in Tallaght Stadium Shamrock Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic packed their Leinster Senior Cup teams with potential future stars of the domestic game. In this quarter final clash, it was a youthful Rovers team that prevailed 3-0 against Pats with goals from Sean Gannon, Dean Ebbe and Aaron Greene.

Both managers brought in players from their under 19’s squad with Rovers’ Conor McCormack being the only player to start in this cup game for either side who had also played in the League last Friday night. For Stephen Kenny he was able to bring the experienced Colin Hawkins, Kerrea Gilbert, Stephen O’Donnell and Aaron Greene into his Rovers team alongside the younger players.

Pats, who were captained by Pat Flynn on the day, created some good chances in the opening period of the game. The first chance saw the visitors force a corner just three minutes into the game. Ryan Coombes delivery was controlled by Ian Daly at the edge of the six yard box but Gilbert closed the midfielder down to concede another corner. Next Kevin Dempsey got free on the left and cutting inside, his low shot was held by Rovers South African goalkeeper Reyadd Pieterse low to his left on six minutes.

18-year-old Lorcan Shannon was a constant treat down the left for Shamrock Rovers throughout the game and put in a man-of-the-match performance. His side strung a series of first half corners together. Dean Ebbe laid off Shannon’s first corner on the left to Conor McCormack whose shot went behind for another corner on 11 minutes.

Half way through the opening period, Shannon cut nicely inside Eoin Hyland but his shot couldn’t trouble Lee Brandon in the Pats goal. Shannon then played a fine ball in to Rovers captain Stephen O’Donnell. Aidan Price was in a good position to get a block on O’Donnell’s shot to concede another corner.

Rovers couldn’t take advantage from Shannon’s good deliveries from the next set of corners as first Ebbe and then Hawkins had chances in the box. On the half hour mark Pieterse had to be on his toes to save from Coombes. McCormack had another opportunity for Rovers from a Shannon pass but his shot went well over the bar.

Rovers should have opened the scoring on 33 minutes as three players were queuing up to convert Shannon’s cross on the left. Hyland at right back was given a torrid time by Shannon and his ball fizzed across the six-yard box. Greene, Ebbe and Kerrea Gilbert, getting forward from right back, all dived to get a decisive touch on the ball but they couldn’t force it home.

Just on half time Rovers made it 1-0. The move came after Greene had got a shot away. Rovers were able to pick up the ball again through Shannon who played the ball across the box and eventually the unmarked Sean Gannon got on the ball. The 20 year old had time and space to slot the ball home low into the bottom left corner of the goal to give the Hoops a half time lead.

There was a great opportunity for Rovers to double that lead on 53 minutes as Greene ran onto a weak back pass by Hyland. Brandon did well to force Greene wide and Ebbe couldn’t finish the square ball back from Greene when he really should have. However, the home side did get their second goal on the hour mark with Ebbe getting on the score sheet this time. McCormack was fouled just outside the box but referee Darren Coombes played on as the ball ran to Ebbe inside the box. He managed to steer the ball into the goal off the left hand post to make it 2-0.

Liam Buckley switched his side to three at the back after this as they chased the game. They were unlucky not to score when Dean Kelly’s crisp shot hit the bar from a Kevin Farragher pass. Minutes later Kelly got another shot away from a free kick wide on the left. The Pats players and fans called for a goal but Pieterse diving on top of the ball on his line just about kept the ball out. Next Pats were calling for a penalty as Conor Pepper diving for a header with Gilbert in the box felt he was pulled back but the ref indicated it wasn’t a penalty.

It was Rovers’ turn to hit the bar on 76 minutes as Greene picked up an O’Donnell pass and got by Price to shoot. Brandon looked to get a touch as the ball bounced down off the cross bar and away to safety for Pats. Shortly after this let off for Rovers, there was a long delay as referee Coombes went down with a leg injury. The game was stopped for over eight minutes and the fourth official had to come on to officiate for the remainder of the game.

Ian Daly had a chance to score for Pats during the 13 minutes of injury time when Kelly’s touch came to him outside the box. Pieterse made a great double save following Daly’s chance to prevent a Pats goal. It was Rovers who got the final goal of this entertaining game as Aaron Greene got an opportunity in the Pats box to fire home and make it 3-0 just before the final whistle.

Shamrock Rovers: Reyadd Pieterse; Kerrea Gilbert, Colin Hawkins, Donal Branagan, Jack Memery; Sean Gannon, Conor McCormack, Stephen O’Donnell, Lorcan Shannon (Tom O’Rourke 98); Dean Ebbe (Sean Dixon 96), Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Oscar Jansson, Lee Steacy, Karl McGrath, Dean Power, Paul Moffat.
Bookings: Donal Branagan 38.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Lee Brandon; Eoin Hyland, Aidan Price, Kevin Farragher, Jake Carroll; Dean Kelly, Pat Flynn, Ryan Coombes, Kevin Dempsey (Adam O’Connor 63), Conor Pepper; Ian Daly.
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Rob Cornwall, Jamie McGlynn, Aaron Behan, Mario Chindea, Niall Conran.
Bookings: Jake Carroll 51.

Referee: Darren Coombes.
Attendance: 750 (estimate).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Lorcan Shannon

Brennans Bred for Football

There is a band of Brennan brothers playing in the Airtricity League Premier Division this season. Three of the brothers are playing with their hometown club of Drogheda United and the remaining brother Killian Brenna is playing here at Shamrock Rovers.

Football obviously runs deep in the Brennan blood. “Football has been in my family for years,” said Killian, the oldest Brennan brother. “My father was a footballer and his Dad was a footballer as well. My Dad was a top player in the Leinster Senior League. I remember watching him when I was younger and I looked up to him. I used to travel around the country watching him play for Boyne Rovers. I used to try and do things that I saw him doing on the pitch.”

Killian’s brothers Ryan and Sean have joined Gavin at Drogheda this season. “It is great for the lads,” said Killian about his three brothers playing with Mick Cooke’s team. “Two of them came from Monaghan last year. They are flying at the moment. We have a bit of banter in the house! They love playing football. I know Ryan is progressing well. He is only 19 so he has a lot of years ahead of him. Hopefully he can get a couple of seasons under his belt and maybe get across the water.”

The three Brennan brothers play in midfield for Drogheda and that is normally where Killian also plays. However, he lined out at left back for Rovers last week against Shelbourne as Stephen Kenny made changes to his starting line up.
“Obviously Conor (Powell) got suspended against Cork and we didn’t have much cover at left back so Stephen asked me to play there,” said Brennan. “I knew the role as I’d played there a bit at school boy level. The last time I played left back was for Derry.”

Brennan had an excellent game helping the Hoops get their first clean sheet of the league campaign. As well as changing the team personnel, Stephen Kenny also had the team line out using a 4-2-3-1 formation. “The first few games we played 4-4-2 so we went a bit more attacking than before,” said Brennan. The set-up certainly helped the Hoops who ran out 4-0 winners over Shels, helped by the early sending off of the visitor’s goalkeeper. “I thought it was our best formation as we can play football with the team and the attacking options that we have. We’ve got players with speed on the wings and plenty of speed up front. We can utilise Billy Dennehy’s and Aaron Greene’s pace. We are going to be a handful for everyone.”

It is expected tonight’s match against Bohemians will be played out in front of another massive crowd. The large crowd at last week’s game with Shelbourne, which included President Michael D Higgins, meant the kick off was delayed for ten minutes due to crowd congestion. “The game the other night with 5,000 people coming to watch was fantastic,” said Brennan. “When we played in Cork, there was another great atmosphere. If we can get 5,000 people to come watch our games and maybe get more, it would be fantastic. You want to play in front of big crowds.”

It was a large crowd against Monaghan United for Rovers’ first home game of the season and Brennan played a crucial part in the Rovers win that night. Trailing 1-0 at half time, Rovers got back into the game thanks to a moment of inspiration from Brennan. He got on the end of Billy Dennehy’s corner to volley the ball into the net for the Rovers opener and the Hoops would go on to win 3-1.

“The ball came to me when I got a bit of freedom in the box and it was a side foot backheel. It was good to get off the mark. Monaghan played well that night so obviously it was a nice time to get the goal and get back to 1-1. It was a pivotal point in the game to score the goal and for it to be my first goal for Shamrock Rovers was brilliant as well.”

Whilst Rovers are top of the table tonight facing into a game against Bohs, who are surprisingly bottom having yet to score a league goal, it hasn’t been all plane sailing for Rovers. Rovers played Bohs in the Leinster Senior Cup and only progressed on penalties. Similarly, Rovers moved on to the Setanta Sports Cup semi final despite losing a 2-0 lead in the quarter final against Cliftonville. The Reds took Rovers all the way to penalties on their ‘plastic’ pitch. The story could have been different if one of Brennan’s shots off the post or crossbar had bounced favourably for Rovers.

“We are not making it easy for ourselves having gone to penalties against Bohs; that was 120 minutes and then we had another 120 minutes against Cliftonville. I thought we played quite well on the night (in Solitude). It was tough as they are not a bad side. Obviously they play on that surface every week and that is a big advantage to them. It was quite sticky and hard to run with the ball but I thought we played all right. They never really looked like scoring until they scored the first goal. They scored at important times as they got one just before half time and then just before full time.

“I thought we showed our character really well in extratime. We kept our heads and deservedly went through on penalties. The lads who took the penalties did very well. There is room for improvement. We mixed it up with lads coming into the team as some of the lads hadn’t played much this season.”

Oscar Jannson was the hero for the Hoops saving two penalties that night in Belfast, having saved two in the previous week during the 5-4 shoot out against Bohs in the Leinster Senior Cup at Tallaght Stadium. “Oscar has done brilliant since he came in with the two penalty saves against Bohs and also against Cliftonville. He will get great confidence out of that.”

Tonight Brennan will face his former club Bohemians for the first time since he made the switch from Dublin 7 to Dublin 24. He is not the only man involved with Rovers tonight who is a former Gypsy. Last season Bohemians lined out with six former Rovers players in their starting line up. This season Rovers can go the other way and more. Hoops boss Stephen Kenny managed Bohs previously and if we add in Kenny, his goalkeeping coach Stephen O’Brien and Brennan then Rovers have an ex-Bohemians XI with Conor Powell, Ken Oman, Colin Hawkins, Chris Turner, Stephen O’Donnell, Stephen Rice, Gary O’Neill and Aaron Greene.

However, unlike the other former Bohs players in the Rovers squad, Brennan is making the direct switch from the red and black stripes of Bohs to the Green and White hoops of Rovers. So what kind of reaction does he think he will get from the away fans tonight?

“I don’t really know what to expect,” said the Drogheda native. “I will understand if I get booed because I used to play for Bohs and now I play for Shamrock Rovers. The clubs are big rivals. It is all good on my side. I have a lot of mates there at the club. I will be looking out for them. I always hope they do well. If they can get things right off the pitch, then Bohs will come good again.

“I had four and a half great years at Bohemians but financial constraints behind the scenes for reasons that have been well documented means the money is gone. I felt that I couldn’t stay at Bohemians with what they could offer. I told a lot of managers that I was going to go travelling as that was the main aim for me at the start of the season”
It seems that, like with Pat Sullivan, Irish football was going to lose a player from the league due to his desire to travel. That was until his former manager got in touch with him in January. “I was packing my bags and going travelling until Stephen Kenny rang me and said he wanted me to come here. He was the main reason for signing for Shamrock Rovers but also that Rovers are a fantastic football club. I feel they are really the only club going forward in Ireland. Shamrock Rovers wanted to sign me and I’m delighted that I signed.”

Published in Hoops Scene 2012 Issue 4 (Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians, 30 March 2012)