Rovers back on top of Premier Division with convincing win over Waterford in Tallaght

By Daire Walsh

Shamrock Rovers regained top spot in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a comfortable 3-0 victory against a struggling Waterford at Tallaght Stadium.

Although St Patrick’s Athletic will have an opportunity to leapfrog their Dublin rivals when they face Sligo Rovers in The Showgrounds this evening, goals from Rory Gaffney, Gary O’Neill and Danny Mandroiu ensured Stephen Bradley’s men will be in high spirits ahead of their showdown with the Saints on Saturday.

Danny Mandroiu15

Danny Mandroiu scored a smooth side-footed goal for Rovers

This result also saw the defending champions creating a new league record of 31 games unbeaten - eclipsing a previously run set by the Hoops themselves way back in 1927.

There was torrential rainfall in advance of the game and while conditions had settled down considerably in advance of kick-off, the playing surface in Tallaght was quite greasy during the opening-quarter.

Nonetheless, it took just 13 minutes for Rovers to break the deadlock in their fifth home league game of 2021.

Off an uncontested drop-ball, Mandroiu picked out Gaffney on the edge of the area and the Galway native turned sharply before firing beyond the reach of Paul Martin for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Rovers continued to press as the half wore on and subsequently doubled their lead just past the half-hour mark.

Following a Dylan Watts pull-back after his initial attempt off a free kick had been blocked, O’Neill fired home from close-range - despite the best efforts of Waterford defender Cameron Evans.

Kevin Sheedy’s visitors began the day just a point clear of basement side Longford Town and any designs they had on a dramatic fightback were effectively eliminated nine minutes after the restart.

Teenager Max Murphy was one of three players to come into the Rovers starting line-up and his brilliant approach work released Mandroiu for a smooth side-footed finish.

An injury to substitute Neil Farrugia meant the Hoops finished the game with 10 men, but it couldn’t prevent them from easing towards a fifth win on the bounce.

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