Substitute Danny Mandroiu headed in a 95th minute winner to secure all three points for Stephen Bradley’s side in Head In The Game Park against Drogheda United.
Drogheda came into the game coming off a 1-1 draw against Derry City at The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium last Friday. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Shamrock Rovers struck late on through Sean Gannon to defeat Longford Town in Tallaght in a 2-1 win.
Tim Clancy made three changes from Friday’s game in Derry, with Luke Heeney, Ryan O’Shea and Killian Phillips all coming into the side. Lee Grace, Chris McCann, Graham Burke and Danny Mandriou all dropped to the bench from Rovers’ game against Longford, with Sean Hoare, Gary O’Neill, Dylan Watts and Rory Gaffney starting for The Hoops.
There were few chances between the sides in the opening 45, with Rovers twice coming closest to opening the scoring through Gaffney and Gannon. Colin McCabe in the Drogheda goal spilled a high ball in the 18-yard box, and the ball fell to the feet of Rory Gaffney. However, the Galway man couldn’t connect properly with the ball and his effort was cleared off the Drogheda line by Daniel O’Reilly.
Moments later, a Ronan Finn pull-back found Sean Gannon, but the wing-back’s effort was deflected out for a corner by Dane Massey in the hosts box.
The second-half followed the pattern of the first, as both sides struggled to carve out any real opportunities.
Luke Heeney was shown a yellow-card by referee Damien McGrath for a horrible tackle on Sean Kavanagh inside the final 20 minutes – a tackle that forced Kavanagh to be replaced by Lee Grace in the Rovers backline.
Drogheda failed to threaten Alan Mannus in the Shamrock Rovers goal, as the Northern Irishman had a comfortable evening between the sticks.
Drogheda thought they had done enough to take a share of the points until Dane Massey gave away a needless foul on the right-wing in the 95th minute.
Dylan Watts took the set-piece, and there was Danny Mandroiu to send the Rovers players and staff into ruptures as his thumping header found the back of Colin McCabe’s net.
No sooner had Drogheda re-started the game after the goal, Damian McGrath blew the full-time whistle in the Louth venue.
The three points see Rovers remain joint top of the Premier Division alongside Sligo Rovers and Saint Patrick’s Athletic. Drogheda remain in 5th place after a solid start to the season for Tim Clancy’s side.
Shamrock Rovers welcome Dublin rivals Bohemians to Tallaght this coming Friday (live on RTÉ 2), whilst Drogheda travel to Oriel Park to face a winless Dundalk side on Saturday. Both games are lives on WatchLoi.ie.
Drogheda United: Colin McCabe; James Brown, Daniel O’Reilly, Hugh Douglas (C), Dane Massey, Ryan O’Shea (Jack Tuite 92′); Gary Deegan, Killian Phillips; Mark Doyle, Chris Lyons (Brandon Bermingham 69′), Luke Heeney (Darragh Markey 76′).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Liam Scales; Sean Gannon, Ronan Finn (C) (Danny Mandroiu 72′), Gary O’Neill (Chris McCann 60′), Sean Kavanagh (Lee Grace 72′); Dylan Watts, Aaron Greene, Rory Gaffney (Graham Burke 66′).