(Credit: Michael P Ryan)

EA Sports Cup Report: Shamrock Rovers 1 - 0 Longford Town
Published: May 02, 2017

Shamrock Rovers made it to their sixth consecutive EA Sports Cup semi-final with a 1-0 win over Longford Town in Tallaght on Tuesday evening. 17-year-old Dean Dillon was the hero for the Hoops scoring with six minutes to go in the quarter-final tie. His first senior goal sent the Hoops into the hat for the semi-final draw alongside Cork City, Galway United and Dundalk.


Rovers were hoping to be vying with Dundalk and City for the title but find themselves well off the pace set by City in the league. So qualification for the semi-final of this competition is a good boost for Rovers as they head into the second series of league games.


With one eye no doubt on Dundalk coming to Tallaght on Friday night for league action, Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley retained only Brandon Miele and David Webster from their last league outing. That was a disappointing 1-1 draw to Limerick where they conceded a last minute equaliser.


Rovers dominated the opening period in terms of possession and shots but they failed to trouble Longford ‘keeper Jack Brady until the very last minute of the half.


At the other end, Kevin Horgan making his second start for Rovers in this competition had equally little to do but De Town failed to even get a shot away until after the half hour mark and that didn’t trouble Horgan.


Town captain Stephen Walsh’s turn by Sam Bone gave Gavin Boyne the chance to shoot on 32 minutes. Two minutes later a foul by Trevor Clarke on the lively Dylan McGlade gave Town the opportunity to whip the ball into the box from a dangerous position. Langtry failed to direct his header on goal and it was the same story with Gavin Boyne’s headed effort seven minutes from the break. That was the best Alan Mathew's men could muster in the first half.


Rovers meanwhile, lining out with Sam Bone and Paul Corry anchoring their 4-2-3-1 system, looked to get the ball into Sean Boyd who proved very effective in linking the play up to for the Hoops. Corry, making his first competitive start in over 18 months, was the lynchpin in the midfield.


Dillon playing just behind Boyd got himself into some great positions but his efforts on goal didn’t trouble the ‘keeper. That was thanks initially to Rhys Gorman on four minutes when the centre half denied Dillon with a great block after a fine run into the box off a Boyd one-two.


The teenage striker had two other shots, along with a header, in the opening period, all missing the target by considerable distance. Meanwhile Boyd’s header from a Brandon Miele corner, flicked on by Webster, flashed just by the post was probably the closest the Hoops came to scoring in the half.


A superb run from left back position into the box from Trevor Clarke began just after the break opened Town up but neither Clarke nor Boyd could pull the trigger and punish Longford’s lethargic start to the second half. In the 50th minute the Hoops forced a save from Brady as he took in Brandon Miele’s driven effort.


Walsh went close just before the hour mark for the First Division side when he got by the Rovers captain Webster but Sean Heaney got back to block Walsh’s effort.


Aidan Friel headed a Webster long ball behind for a corner and Webster’s header from the resulting Miele corner required Karl Chambers to head clear as he stepped off the far post minutes later.


Darren Meenan came off the bench and his shot, set up after a one-two with Dillon, stung the hands of the Longford goalkeeper as Rovers' dominance continued.


Rovers, for all they control of the ball, had no real penetration but with extratime looming eventually the goal did come through pure perseverance. Substitute Roberto Lopes won the ball in a tackle with Walsh to allow Miele to break from his own half. His well timed pass played Dillon in on the right and he neatly found the corner with his right foot shot.


Longford pressed to find an equaliser but, as was the case for most of the game, they did not really have enough creativity to trouble the team from the division above them. De Town are back in Dublin on Saturday with a trip to Cabinteely while Rovers welcome three-in-a-row champions Dundalk to Tallaght for a much anticipated match on Friday evening.



Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan; Shane Hanney, Sean Heaney, Dave Webster ©, Trevor Clarke; Paul Corry (Roberto Lopes 74), Sam Bone (Richie English 86); Brandon Miele, Dean Dillon, James Doona (Darren Meenan 59); Sean Boyd.

Subs not used: Tomer Chencinski (gk), Simon Madden, Aaron Dobbs, Gary Shaw.

Booked: Sean Boyd (90+1).


Longford Town: Jack Brady; Aiden Friel, Rhys Gorman, Daniel O’Reilly, Mark Langtry; Dylan McGlade, Kealon Dillon, Dean Zambra, Karl Chambers (Don Cowan 83); Stephen Walsh ©, Gavin Boyne (Enda Curran 87).

Subs not used: Shane Fagan (gk), Tristan Noack Hoffman, Kevin O’Connor, Cody Mulhall, Aodh Dervan.

Booked: Daniel O’Reilly (35), Kealon Dillon (88).


Referee: Robert Harvey.

Attendance: 1,200 (estimate).

Extratime.ie man of the match: Dean Dillon (Shamrock Rovers).



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Macdara Ferris

Macdara Ferris is a contributor since 2007 to Hoops Scene (Shamrock Rovers' match day programme) and the co-author of Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009 to 2012. He still believes that one day he will see Rovers win the FAI Cup. The first international game he attended was Luxembourg being dispatched 2-1 at Lansdowne Road by Jack Charlton's Ireland team.

He has been a writer with extratime.ie since 2012 covering the League of Ireland, the Irish National team and a few Champions League finals. He has also been known to pop up in far flung places like Ballybofey, Belfast, Berlin and Brazil to report for extratime.

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