Hoops suffer relegation forfirst time in their history

Dublin City 1 Shamrock Rovers 1 (Dublin City win 3-2 on aggregate)

In a season which, long-term, could see Rovers return to the top of Irish football, the club suffered the ultimate punishment for years of bad decisions - with the eight-point deduction imposed for inaccuracies in their Licensing application proving costly.

That and what it represented led to everything after. The reduced budget, the lengthy list of player departures as the club, under the control of the fans’ 400 Club, ensured the mistakes of the past were not repeated.

Over the two legs, Dublin City were the better outfit finishing both matches stronger than their opponents to return to the top flight themselves at the first attempt.

Rovers will hope to come back stronger next year but, for now, they must stomach a season of the novelty of travelling to venues like Monaghan, Cobh and Kilkenny.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Rovers set their stall out early to attack the Vikings in numbers, though not once did they test home goalkeeper Brendan Kennedy in the first half.

Trevor Molloy went close on a couple of occasions before Robbie Collins headed wide for Dublin City, though Rovers finished the half strongest with Derek Tracey heading narrowly wide and Gavin McDonnell volleying over.

Rovers were again lively at the start of the second half with Robbie Hedderman having to hurriedly clear a scuffed Cathal O’Connor shot inside his own six-yard area with Molloy loitering dangerously.

But Dublin City were more threatening and, 10 minutes into the second half, got their third in the tie.

Ray Scully raced down the right and passed to the Trevor Vaughan. Vaughan was closed down but was able to get the ball to the unmarked Collins who slotted home from six yards to start the celebrations for Dublin City.

But, two minutes later, Rovers equalised when Tracey fired home a low Mark Rutherford cross from 10-yards to keep the Hoops survival hopes alive.

Needing one more goal to push the game to extra time Rovers threw everything forward but the Vikings held firm with a McDonnell header that flew inches over in the 78th minute the closest they game to the game-saving goal.

DUBLIN CITY: Kennedy; Lynch, Keely, Whelehan, Hedderman; Scully, McGill, Shiels, Collins; Vaughan, Freeman.

Subs: Pender for Lynch (half time), Kelly for Scully (63 mins), Mulcahy for Vaughan (77 mins)

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Walshe; Sweetman, Shelley, Foley, Doyle; Molloy, O’Connor, McDonnell, Tracey, Rutherford; Sheridan.

Subs: Kenny for Rutherford (81 mins), Roche for Foley (85 mins)

Referee: D Hancock (Dublin).

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