Rovers dole out six of the best

Gary Twigg’s first hat-trick at home helped Shamrock Rovers return to winning ways as they strolled to an emphatic 6-0 win over Dundalk in their Airtricity Premier Division encounter at Tallaght Stadium last night.

Following last week’s disconcerting result in Inchicore, Stephen Kenny made four changes to his starting line-up, reverting to two men up front with Gary O’Neill selected to partner the Airtricity/SWAI Player of the Month Twigg in attack.

There was understandably a nervous beginning from the hosts as they looked to banish the memories of last Friday, with Billy Dennehy managing their first shot in the 14th minute, shooting narrowly wide from 25 yards.

Seven minutes later, the title holders produced a quality break down their right wing with O’Neill’s header from Conor McCormack’s cross superbly saved by Cherrie, with Dennehy’s follow up blocked by a combination of Cherrie and Derek Foran.

The inevitable breakthrough arrived on the half-hour as Gary McCabe’s deep free-kick was superbly headed back by Craig Sives into the path of Chris Turner, who nodded past a helpless Cherrie from six yards.

After Finn had struck the upright from 30 yards two minutes later, Rovers doubled their advantage in the 33rd minute as Finn found acres of space behind the Dundalk back four to pick out Twigg for the simplest of headers, his sixth goal of the campaign.

The goal-shy visitors, who had managed just two goals in their previous six league fixtures, were merely intent of damage limitation for the remainder of the half and they managed to deny the Hoops adding to their lead with O’Neill once again denied by Cherrie and Dennehy blasting the rebound wide.

Any thoughts of an unlikely Dundalk comeback were quickly dispelled within a minute of the restart as Dennehy was tripped outside the box by Chris Shields, with the left winger curling the resultant free-kick beyond the unsighted Cherrie.

After O’Neill was adjudged to have handled in finding the net from Twigg’s cross, Dundalk offered a genuine threat as Michael Rafter released Shane O’Neill but the substitute dragged his attempt well wide of Oscar Jansson’s right-hand post.

A more clinical Rovers continued to threaten and after Twigg had headed home McCormack’s cross in the 81st minute, the prolific Scotsman rounded off a superb team move three minutes from time.

Sub Daryl Kavanagh added gloss to the scoreline when he headed home in injury time to hand the hosts the perfect riposte to those that doubted their credentials a week ago.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Jansson; McCormack, Sives, Oman, Powell; McCabe, Finn (Brennan, 84), Turner, Dennehy (Kavanagh, 80); O’Neill (Greene, 80), Twigg.

DUNDALK: Cherrie; McLoughlin, Burns, Foran, Cunningham; Walsh (O’Neill, 46), Shields, Mountney, McDonnell (Thomas, 46); Rafter (McKenna, 73), Shanahan.

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)

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