A 76th minute Graham Burke penalty downed Bohemians for their fourth loss in seven league games this season, as Shamrock Rovers maintained their winning streak over their Dublin rivals.
Stephen Bradley made four changes to his side that beat Drogheda United on Tuesday night. Lee Grace, Chris McCann, Graham Burke and Danny Mandroiu came into the side, replacing Sean Kavanagh, Gary O’Neill, Rory Gaffney and Ronan Finn. Bohemians boss Keith Long made six changes to his side for tonight’s game, bringing in the likes of Ali Coote, Tyreke Wilson and Keith Ward into their side.
Shamrock Rovers got off to the perfect start in Tallaght in-front of the RTÉ cameras. Liam Scales’ low-cross found Aaron Greene at the back post, but his effort crashed back off the post. The loose ball fell to former-Bohemians midfielder, Dylan Watts, who made no mistake from the rebound to side-foot his effort past the helpless James Talbot in the Bohemians goal.
Despite Rovers having a foothold of the possession side of the game early on, Bohs were looking threatening throughout. And that threat came to the fore in the 13th minute.
Keith Ward raced down the Bohemians right-wing, his cross was left by Georgie Kelly in the Rovers box and fell to the feet of Liam Burt who was free at the back post. However, the Scottish attacker put to much focus on his effort attempting to beat Mannus at the far top-corner, but instead missed the target. This was certainly a danger-sign for Stephen Bradley’s side.
Keith Long’s men got their equaliser in the 20th minute through Ross Tierney. Liam Burt twisted-and-turned inside the Rovers box, before his dinked effort to the back-post was headed home by the young forward inside the six-yard box.
Rovers remained on top in the closing minutes of the first-period, but the sides went into the break level.
Keith Buckley stung the palms of Alan Mannus inside the opening 60 seconds of the second period, before Sean Gannon picked up the first yellow-card of the derby for a foul on Burt as the Scotsman approached the Rovers goal.
Shortly after, Ronan Finn replaced Gannon after the former Dundalk full-back picked up a slight knock. Finn was also shown a yellow-card shortly after his introduction for a foul on Tyreke Wilson.
Bohemians almost took the lead mid-way through the second-half when Tierney raced down the left-wing, before his low ball was sliced onto the Rovers post by Georgie Kelly.
Both sides continued to created half-chances before the games turning-point took place in the 75th minute.
After quick play in midfield, Gaffney played in Mandroiu inside the Bohs box, but was deemed to have been fouled by James Finnerty and a penalty was awarded. Bohs received a double-punch when referee Paul McLaughlin showed Finnerty a straight red for his challenge on Mandroiu.
Despite the protests by the Bohemians players and staff, the damage was done and the penalty was waiting to be taken. Graham Burke stepped up and put it away to give Rovers the lead, despite Talbot guessing the right way and getting a hand to Burke’s effort.
Bohemians brought on Ciaran Kelly in place of Keith Ward and switched to a three at the back in the hope of getting something out of the game in the remaining minutes, but they failed to do so.
With the man advantage, Rovers saw out the remaining 15 minutes to extend their unbeaten league record to an astonishing 29 games – a run that goes all the way back to September 2019.
Next up for Stephen Bradley’s side is a tough trip up to Ballybofey to take on a well-drilled Finn Harps side next Saturday. Meanwhie, Bohemians welcome Premier Diviso strugglers Derry City to Dalymount next Saturday also. Both games will be live on WatchLoi.ie from 6pm.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Sean Gannon (57′ Ronan Finn), Chris McCann (71′ Rory Gaffney), Dylan Watts (63′ Gary O’Neill), Liam Scales; Graham Burke, Aaron Greene, Danny Mandroiu.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Andy Lyons, Rob Cornwall, James Finnerty, Tyreke Wilson; Ali Coote (80′ Conor Levingston), Keith Buckley, Keith Ward (76′ Ciaran Kelly); Liam Burt, Georgie Kelly, Ross Tierney.