Goals in either half by Brandon Miele and Trevor Clarke saw Shamrock Rovers beat Galway United 2-0 at Tallaght Stadium last night.
The hosts started on the front foot and created half chances for Pat Cregg and Gavin Brennan before they opened the scoring in the 8th minute.
The goal arrived as Brandon Miele was allowed to cut inside under little pressure and his fine low finish past Kevin Horgan was just reward for an enterprising start from the Hoops.
Impressive going forward, Rovers needed to remain vigilant at the back, with David O’Connor making a superb block to deny Padraic Cunningham in the 19th minute.
Chances continued to be created with O’Connor almost heading in Miele’s corner at one end and, from the resultant counter-attack, Vinny Faherty was desperately unfortunate to see his volley veer narrowly over Barry Murphy’s crossbar.
Half-chances arrived for the hosts in the form of a Dean Clarke cross-shot and a wild Michael Drennan effort while Miele went close with a curling free-kick that veered just wide of Horgan’s right-hand upright.
Miele was again heavily involved in the 43rd minute with a pin-point cross that Drennan mistimed terribly, heading wide from six yards when unmarked.
The second-half resumed with the hosts intent on doubling their lead as Gary McCabe and Clarke enjoyed enterprising but ultimately fruitless raids inside the first three minutes.
The visitors were unlucky not to hit parity on the hour mark as Shanahan nipped in behind the home defence, but his adroit header cushioned off Murphy’s crossbar with the goalkeeper stranded.
Despite lacking earlier fluency, Galway should have levelled matters in the 78th minute but substitute Ruairi Keating headed wastefully wide after a sublime cross by Shanahan.
The contest was settled in the 89th minute as an error from Paul Sinnott allowed substitute Clarke to fire unerringly past Horgan at his near post.
Murphy; Madden, Blanchard, O’Connor, G Brennan; Cregg, McCabe, K Brennan (Webster, 89), D Clarke (T Clarke, 69); Miele, Drennan (McCaffrey, 73).
K Horgan; C Horgan, Sinnott, Cantwell, Walsh; Shanahan, Sullivan (Foley, 83), Connolly, Devaney; Cunningham (Keating, 75), Faherty (Curran, 75).
Paul Tuite (Dublin)