Report: Ryan McMullen

Delight for Shamrock Rovers as they put three past Bohemians in a dominant second-half display on derby day.

On the return from the international break, Stephen Bradley made two changes to his starting team that defeated Galway United last time out – Markus Poom started on the bench after suffering a slight knock whilst playing for Estonia, with Gary O’Neill returning from his injury to replace him in the side. The match-winner in Galway, Johnny Kenny, also started, coming in for the injured Rory Gaffney up top.

Tallaght Stadium was met by a sell-out crowd on the night, 10,094 supporters flocked to D24 to back their team, a spectacular figure which was made possible thanks to the opening of the North Stand at Tallaght Stadium during the winter. It was the highest League of Ireland attendance in 33 years too, and the electric atmosphere inside the stadium certainly reflected that

LED advertising boards around the pitch added to the already striking sight of a full house in Tallaght.

On the pitch however, things weren’t so exciting in the opening stages, with an early shot from Bohs captain Jordan Flores, directed past the left post, being the only notable opportunity within the first 25 minutes.

Pico Lopes started for Cape Verde in their 1-0 victory against Equatorial Guinea in Saudi Arabia on Monday and he slotted right back into the Hoops defence. The 31-year-old was the next to have an attempt on goal as he tested Kacper Chorazka in net for Bohs with a header after meeting a Dylan Watts corner ball but the Polish ‘keeper managed to gather without any trouble.

The best chance of the half came when Darragh Nugent swung a ball over the top into the path of Darragh Burns who used beautiful skill to cut inside defender Paddy Kirk and find space before firing at goal, Chorazka did well to parry away the 21-year-old’s effort.

The referee blew for half-time and it remained scoreless at the break, a fair scoreline after what had been an opening half where neither team had managed to assert control of the game.

The Hoops came flying out of the traps after the restart and opened the scoring through Johnny Kenny. After a Josh Honohan cross from the left-hand side was headed away by Jevon Mills, the ball landed at the feet of Dylan Watts who’s strike from the edge of the box fell into the path of Kenny who found himself in space inside the box, before controlling and firing past Chorazka to give put the Hoops in front

The lead was doubled shortly after, Graham Burke received the ball from Kenny and twisted and turned to find an opening, he then sent in a ball which was met by Burns, the Stamullen man took a touch forward and hammered it into the bottom right corner well to make it 2-0. A dream start to the second half.

The Hoops were now in full control but were sent a warning when a turnover in play resulted in Brian McManus having an opportunity on goal, but the midfielder failed to direct his effort on target.

Rovers continued to probe for more openings in the Bohemians defence and extended their lead on 72 minutes when substitute Aaron Greene shrugged off Aboubacar Keita to poke home a third of the night.

And Richie Towell almost added a fourth only for an outstretched leg from Chorazka to deny the midfielder from close range.

Josh Honohan was awarded Player of the Match after an impressive performance at wingback. It was well deserved from the ever-present in the Hoops team so far this season. Late on, the Carrigaline native also opted to try his luck from long range but saw his attempt at curling the ball into the bottom right corner drop wide.

In the last minute of play, Bohs managed to pull one back and prevent Rovers from keeping a clean sheet, a goal the Hoops defence will undoubtedly be frustrated to have conceded.

Danny Grant put a ball over the top for Declan McDaid who found himself one-on-one with Pohls who had advanced from goal leaving the Scotsman the opportunity to slot past the German goalkeeper to reduce the deficit.

It was effectively the last kick of the game with Rob Harvey sounding the full-time whistle upon the restart, as the Hoops secured a big three points on Derby Day in Dublin.

All focus will now be put towards Easter Monday (April 1st) as the Champions make the trip south to take on Waterford at the RSC, Kick-off is at an earlier time of 5 pm.

Shamrock Rovers: Pohls, Cleary, Lopes ©, Grace, Burns (Clarke 82’), Honohan, O’Neill (Poom 57’), Watts (Towell 71’), Nugent, Burke (Noonan 82’), Kenny (Greene 71’).

Shamrock Rovers unused substitutes: Steacy, Hoare, Barrett, Dillon.

Bohemians: Chorazka, Lilander, Mills, Keita (J McManus 76’), Kirk, Flores ©, McDonnell (Grant 64’), Connolly (B McManus 64’), Clarke, Rooney, Akintunde (McDaid 71’).

Bohemians unused substitutes: Talbot, Reinkort, Byrne, Okosun, Matheson.

Referee: Rob Harvey