Shamrock Rovers 3 Sligo Rovers 0: Shamrock Rovers brightened up a damp and dreary night at Tallaght Stadium by recording their biggest home of the season and rising to third in the Premier Division.
While Sligo Rovers arrived in Dublin chasing a fourth win on the trot, they were overpowered by Pat Fenlon’s side who had Gary McCabe’s brace and another from birthday boy Gary Shaw on the scoresheet.
The Hoops, too, were on a decent run, having won back-to-back league games, and never looked back once McCabe fired them ahead after just seven minutes.
When Sligo captain Craig Rodden fouled Gavin Brennan in the box, McCabe did what he’d done earlier in the season against Wexford Youths and Finn Harps by drilling the spot-kick home.
The visitors had scored nine goals in their previous three wins yet offered little in attack despite the best efforts of Raffaele Cretaro up front.
Credit must also go to the Rovers defence for maintaining their record of keeping clean sheets in all eight of their league wins to date.
Their latest victory was all but secured by their second goal netted three minutes before the break by Shaw on the occasion of his 24th birthday.
Without a goal since joining from Longford, the Newbridge man showed no rustiness from his recent injury lay-off in dinking a volley beyond Micheál Schlingermann following a pinpoint cross by Simon Madden on the right.
Comfortably in control, Rovers extended their lead 12 minutes after the restart.
Gavin Brennan’s bravery on the left won possession back for the hosts and his lay-off allowed Dean Clarke to plant a cross onto McCabe’s head six yards out and he nodded in.
Persistence almost led to McCabe securing his hat-trick on a couple of occasions only for him to shoot tamely at Schlingermann before the Sligo goalkeeper denied the midfielder with another close-range header.
Hyland; Madden, Cornwall, Webster, G Brennan; Cregg, McCabe, K Brennan (Boyd 83); Miele, Shaw (North 61), D Clarke (McPhail 74).
Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Boylan, Donelon; Richards (Roberts 73), Roddan, Russell, Keohane; Martin (Sadlier 67), Cretaro (Gordon 83).
G Kelly (Cork).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved