Thursday 22 March 2018

Kenny hails hoops nerve

Rovers boss praises 'patience' in win over Bohs

STEPHEN KENNY praised the patience of his Shamrock Rovers players after they finally broke down a dogged Bohemians side with another late show to win 2-0 at Tallaght Stadium last night.

Bohs remain bottom of the table with one point -- and no goals from five games -- as their Tallaght hoodoo lived on with this win for Rovers.

The Gypsies are still without a win over their biggest rivals at the venue, but this was a hard-fought three points for the champions, who needed goals from Gary Twigg and Billy Dennehy in the final 11 minutes to make it four wins from five this season, to stay on top of the Premier Division table.

"Patience is important but you can't be too patient, you need some urgency too," said Kenny after his first win as Rovers boss against his former club.

"I will never tell teams to just knock balls into the box, you have to keep passing, you have a way of playing and you need to believe in it.

"I wouldn't say I was worried late on, but there were no guarantees we would score. But we have shown a capacity for late goals and we continue to do that.


"There is still work to be done on the training ground and some players who are only settling into the club will get better, these things take a bit of time."

Keeper Andy McNulty was playing only his second League of Ireland fixture, but Bohs had the newcomer to thank for keeping them in the game in the first half.

The former Inverness man did well to save from Twigg on 13 minutes, Ronan Finn the creator of the chance, while on 35 minutes McNulty got his fingertips to a well-struck effort by Finn.

Bohs seemed to draw confidence from that half-time clean-sheet while the introduction of sub Keith Ward, back in the side after injury, also put some pep into the away side.

They carved out a brilliant chance on 68 minutes, when Karl Moore's run set up Dave Scully whose shot flashed just wide of Oscar Jansson's post.

Rovers utilised their bench in a bid to lift things, with Gary O'Neill, Daryl Kavanagh and Sean Gannon all thrown into action, but the home side still struggled to break down a dogged Bohs.

They finally got their breakthrough 11 minutes from time, with Twigg supplying the all-important goal. He displayed perfect control and composure to collect Finn's weighted pass and fire past McNulty. The strike sapped the confidence from Bohs and Dennehy's goal three minutes into injury time was the final blow.

Bohs must now hope they can garner some points from their next games, against Cork City and UCD, to avoid a repeat of the 1998/99 season, their worst in recent memory, when they gained just one point in the first eight games.

However, Gypsies manager Aaron Callaghan remains confident that things are on the up. "I have never been as proud of a bunch of players," Callaghan said after the game. "You don't always get your rewards in the game, you can put in a performance like we did and not get the results.

"But if we continue in that vein we will be okay. One lapse of concentration at this level is crucial and that happened to us for their first goal, Gary Twigg did what he does best.

"At key times in games we lose concentration and that happens when you have inexperienced, young players in the team. They have to grow up and grow up quick," Callaghan added.

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