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O’Neill hails Hoops heart

MICHAEL O'Neill hailed the character of his Shamrock players after they came up with a late, late show against Bray Wanderers to regain the initiative in the title race.

Yesterday's 2-1 win away to Bray Wanderers, secured thanks to a 90th-minute goal from Karl Sheppard, leaves Rovers a point clear of second-placed Sligo Rovers, and the Hoops have a game in hand over Sligo, as Sligo lost some ground with Saturday's 1-0 defeat away to St Patrick's Athletic.

If Rovers can now win Thursday's game at home to third-placed Derry City they will be four points clear at the top with only two games left, but O'Neill admitted that his side made heavy weather of their trip to Bray yesterday.

“There was some good stuff and some not so good stuff from us but that seems to be the way with this team,” he said.

“It's a massive three points for us. We played well in the first half, given the type of game it was and the conditions on a tight pitch.

Edgy

“In the second half we were edgy and we didn't handle it as well as we could have done.

“So when you lose a goal you start |to wonder. But to be fair to the players they dug in and turned it around and it was a great winning goal. It was good play by Ciaran Kilduff and Karl Sheppard. I'm delighted for them because these games aren't easy.

“It's about results now. People think we should just turn up here and win games, but teams aren't just going to let us turn up and win.”

Sheppard had put Rovers in front in the seventh minute, but the Hoops moved down a gear after that and allowed Bray back into the game, Gary Dempsey getting Wanderers – who had been a bogey side for Rovers in recent seasons – level on 64 minutes, but then in the last minute of normal time Sheppard popped up with the crucial goal.