Longford Town 0-2 Shamrock Rovers

Report: Ryan McMullen

In our first competitive outing of 2024, a youthful Hoops side took to the field at Roadstone on Monday night, as our U20s, managed by Tony Cousins, were provided with an excellent opportunity to test themselves against senior opposition.

It took just 7 minutes for the opening goal to arrive and it came from Matthew Britton – the son of Matt Britton (Shamrock Rovers Player of the Year 1997/98). The ball was fed into the path of Britton beautifully from Cory O’Sullivan after some well-worked play down the left wing topped off with a cool finish from the Kilcoole native.

Approaching the 20-minute mark, Longford were awarded a free kick at the edge of the box. Rovers goalkeeper Toms Leitis had to get down to his right quickly to make a superb save to deny Chris Lyons an equaliser for the Midlands club.

Less than a minute later, highly-rated forward Cian Dillon found himself through on goal and managed to make his way around Longford goalkeeper and captain on the night Jack Brady, yet his attempt was crucially cleared off the goal line by the Longford rearguard.

Despite not having too many more opportunities on goal, Rovers were controlling the game, playing some brilliant football throughout the first half and went in at the break with a deserved advantage.

Into the second half the Hoops doubled their lead when Cian Dillon raced through, rounding Brady, before calmly finding the back of the net to make it 2-0.

And the Hoops pushed for more. A great cross was swung in from the right-hand side reaching the head of Ryan Ritchie however he saw his effort go just above the crossbar.

Darragh Marshall was sprung from the bench and almost extended our lead, forcing a good save from Brady in the Longford goal to keep the score at 2-0.

In the later stages, Ryan Ritchie took on a shot from well outside the box and was unlucky to see his strike drift narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

Other than some Longford crosses into the six-yard box causing some threat to the Hoops defence late on, Rovers were on top for the most-part and grabbed themselves a well-earned 3 points to see them take second spot on the table in Group B of the Permanent TSB Leinster Senior Cup following the first set of fixtures.

It was a bitterly cold night for Hoops fans in attendance, but they will have gone home satisfied with what they saw; an entertaining game, a great result and some senior experience for the Rovers youngsters.

Next up for the Hoops is another fixture in the same competition against Maynooth University Town taking place on Wednesday January 31st with a kick-off time of 7.45pm at Roadstone.. A win on the night will see Rovers advance into the next round and claim their spot in the draw with a game to spare ahead of their final fixture against Athlone Town.

Longford Town: Brady (C), O’Connor (George 63’), Hand, Lyons (Slater 70’), O’Shea, Chambers, Crowley, Clarke, Fay, Tropanets (Campbell 46’), Bonner (Priosti 46’).

Longford Town unused substitutes: Harrington, Elworthy, Wixted.

Shamrock Rovers: Leitis, Roche, Kehir (Kealy 84’), Mare, Dignam, Donnelly (Koufie 90’), Ritchie (Reddy 84’), J O’Sullivan (C), Dillon, Britton (Marshall 69’), C O’Sullivan.

Shamrock Rovers unused substitutes: Jakas, Akimrintoyo, Murray.

Referee: Robert Dowling