Gaffney and Hoare goals in the closing-quarter give Shamrock Rovers the spoils against Finn Harps

by Daire Walsh

Champions Shamrock Rovers moved level on points with St Patrick’s Athletic towards the summit of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table courtesy of a 2-0 win against Finn Harps at Ballybofey this evening.

Still scoreless on the third-quarter mark, Rory Gaffney and Sean Hoare found the net in the 74th and 81st minutes respectively to extend the Hoops’ unbeaten start to their top-flight campaign.

Graham Burke 17

Rover's Graham Burke in action

 While goal difference ensures Pat’s are currently in pole position, their Dublin rivals remain on their coattails.

For the first time since their opening game of the season - a score draw with St Pat's in Tallaght - the Rovers side featured the vastly-experienced Joey O’Brien.

Gaffney was given the nod up front ahead of Aaron Greene, with Danny Mandroiu and Graham Burke providing the attacking support.

Stephen Doherty went close for the hosts with nine minutes gone on the clock, but chances were few and far between throughout the opening half.

Dylan Watts 20

A Dylan Watts set-piece left Gaffney with a simple finish

With captain Ronan Finn and Gary O’Neill working in tandem, Rovers largely dominated the possession stakes.

Still, Ollie Horgan’s Ulster men were proving a hard nut to crack and the deadlock remained unbroken at the midway point.

With ex-Rovers star Dave Webster marshalling their defence, Harps were tight and compact throughout.

It looked like being a frustrating night at the office for Rovers, but fortune favoured them with 16 minutes remaining.

Harps custodian Mark Anthony McGinley (who has represented Donegal in Gaelic football during the recent past), failed to deal with a Dylan Watts set-piece and Gaffney was left with a simple finish from close-in.

Watts was also the creative force behind Rovers’ second goal of the night as his superbly lofted free-kick inside the closing 10 minutes was headed home in clinical fashion by Hoare.

The back-to-back chasing Hoops continue to find a way to get over the line and will now aim to make it two wins in the space of four days when Waterford come to Tallaght on Monday afternoon.

Prev St Pat’s move three points clear in Premier Division with win over Longford
Next Peamount cement top spot in WNL after a convincing second half display against Treaty United

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