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Wednesday 26 July 2017

Shaw and Miele shine as Rovers put dogged Galway to the sword

Shamrock Rovers 2 Galway Utd 0

Brandon Miele celebrates his goal against Galway United in the win at Tallaght Stadium. Photo: Sportsfile
Brandon Miele celebrates his goal against Galway United in the win at Tallaght Stadium. Photo: Sportsfile

They are still not the finished article, but some good finishing by Shamrock Rovers helped the Hoops get another win which keeps them in the hunt, at least, for European qualification for next season.

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley had said that, after a poor performance in the first third of the season, the club's aim was to catch up with the likes of Bray Wanderers in the top three, accepting that as long as Cork City keep winning (and they won again last night) it's almost impossible to see anyone overtaking the men from Cork.

Rovers did manage to better Galway United last night, with a goal in each half from Gary Shaw and Brandon Miele. Galway have been a tough nut to crack of late, as they were unbeaten in seven before last night, and Shane Keegan's side did enjoy good spells of possession.

But the finishing from Shaw and Miele, on a night when the superb Graham Burke was also a threat, ended Galway's unbeaten streak.

Galway came to Tallaght with the second-best away record in the country, though history was also very much not on the side of the men from the west, Galway's last win over Rovers coming way, way back in 2006.

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley eyeing up a move for Dean Ebbe
Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley eyeing up a move for Dean Ebbe

That fact came from the history books but in time, no one will look back on this game with any fondness.

There was a lot of huff and puff before the first real chance of the game, Brandon Miele taking a shot on the half-hour mark which was saved by Conor Winn.

Galway had enjoyed decent spells of play before that and Gary Shanahan was making the Rovers back four work hard to offer some cover to Tomer Chencinski's goal.

But as that first half, a very poor half at that, wore on, Rovers managed to take control. Luke Byrne did the hard work down the left wing and whipped in a cross which - eventually - fell for Shaw and he finished well to claim his first goal in two months.

Rovers, who replaced Daniel Devine with Sam Bone at half-time, were in control and looked unlikely to lose their grip as Galway looked tired from weekend exertions which saw them beat relegation rivals Finn Harps.

Burke looked like he was on a mission to punish Galway, as the former Aston Villa man sent in a superb ball for Shaw on 56 minutes, and also tried to score himself with decent efforts.

Shamrock Rovers coach Damien Duff before the game in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Shamrock Rovers coach Damien Duff before the game in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Ex-U21 cap Burke was the creator for the second goal, carving out the chance for Miele, who got the better of the hard-working Winn in the United goal.

And there was another slice of good news for Rovers late on as Ryan Connolly came off the bench, to play against his home-town club, with his first appearance in over two months.

Galway tried to rescue something but a late effort from Padraic Cunningham was weak and didn't trouble Tomer Checinski, who claimed his second clean sheet in three games.

Bigger tests await for Rovers as they now steel themselves for Friday's trip south to face Cork City but with Shaw back among the goals after that lean spell and their keeper taking confidence from that defensive record, that 'work in progress' is heading the right way.

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