By Dave Donnelly
Shamrock Rovers began their search for a 25th FAI Cup crown with a 1-0 victory over Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium last night.
Dan Carr scored the game’s only goal midway through the first half as the Hoops dominated throughout and could easily have won more comfortably.
The London-born striker curled home an excellent finish from Ronan Finn’s crossfield pass to give Stephen Bradley’s side a lead they rarely looked like surrendering.
Rovers took control from the first whistle and hit the post inside three minutes when Carr diverted Ronan Finn headed Dan Carr’s shot off the woodwork. Burke rippled the sidenetting with a shot before Carr’s elegant finish put the Hoops in front, the striker controlling before sending an angled finish past Mark McGinley.
McGinley had to be alert moments later as he got down smartly to deny Finn from Jack Byrne’s quick free kick.
Harps had chances in the second half as Cretaro and Harry Ascroft both saw shots blocked, and the best chance fell to Nathan Boyle but he couldn’t beat Alan Mannus.
McGinley was at full stretch to save substitute Dylan Watts’ header from a lovely clipped Byrne pass, before Aaron Greene missed two oneon- ones inside a minute.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; E Boyle (Greene 46), Lopes, Grace, Kavanagh; O’Neill, McEneff, Byrne; Finn, Carr (Cummins 84), Burke (Watts 65).
FINN HARPS: McGinley; O’Reilly, Deasy, Smith, Todd, Russell; G Harkin,
Ascroft, R Harkin (McNamee 80); Timlin (N Boyle 70), Cretaro (Place 80).
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).