Shamrock Rovers kept hot on the heels of Dundalk at the summit of the Premier Division with a deserved victory over relegation-threatened Finn Harps at Finn Park.
Rovers led 2-0 at the break through Ronan Finn and a Dylan Watts penalty, and while the home side kept plugging away, the result was never really in doubt. The Hoops remain behind Dundalk on goal difference.
Rovers went into this game against a rejuvenated Harps side who had put together a four-match unbeaten run before last night’s clash. Harps created the first opening as Mikey Place and Mark Russell combined to set up Caolan McAleer — Harps’ biggest threat throughout the game — who could only shoot over the bar.
However, Rovers went ahead in the seventh minute after Harps goalkeeper Peter Burke failed to deal with cross and Aaron Greene found the supporting Finn, who stabbed the ball home from close range.
The visitors doubled their advantage on 33 minutes when Finn played a probing ball into the Harps box for Greene to chase, but he was impeded by Burke and referee Rob Hennessy awarded a penalty. Dylan Watts duly obliged from the spot.
The Hoops continued to hold the upper hand in the second half and Watts, Trevor Clarke, and Greene all forced Burke into making saves before Greene got onto the end of a Jack Byrne free at the far post to make it 3-0 in the 84th minute.
Burke; Deasy, Todd, Logue, O’Reilly; Coyle (Cowan, 79 mins), Borg (Borg, 45 mins), Russell; Boyle (Walsh, 85 mins), Place; McAleer.
Mannus; O’Brien, Lopez, Grace, Clarke (Boyle, 77 mins); Bolger (Dillon, 83 mins); Finn, Watts, Byrne; Greene, Carr (Coustrain, 64 mins).
R. Hennessy (Dublin).