Hoops begin title defence in emphatic style against UCD
Sean Hoare scoring the opening goal for Rovers against Lorcan Healy in Tallaght stadium Photo by Paddy Barrett

Hoops begin title defence in emphatic style against UCD

Shamrock Rovers kick-started their quest for a third consecutive SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title with a convincing 3-0 triumph over UCD at Tallaght Stadium last night.

Sean Hoare, Danny Mandroiu and Graham Burke all grabbed goals as the Hoops comfortably overcame the Students on their return to the top-flight.

Having begun the new season with a penalty shootout win over St Patrick’s Athletic in the President’s Cup yesterday week, Hoops underlined their credentials for the forthcoming year in front of 5,232 spectators.

The substitutes’ bench that manager Stephen Bradley selected for this game serves as testament to the strength in depth the Kilnamanagh native has at his disposal.

In addition to club captain Ronan Finn, the likes of Burke, Inchicore’s Richie Towell, Aaron Greene and Chris McCann were also held in reserve.

Within the starting line-up, Andy Lyons – an off-season recruit from arch-rivals Bohemians – was making his league debut for Rovers at right wing-back.

Eric Yoro going for the ball against Neil Farrugia Photo by Paddy Barrett

Jack Byrne is also back for a second spell at the club and was lining up alongside Mandroiu in a dual attacking midfield role.

Although veteran netminder Alan Mannus was kept busy by a vibrant UCD side, Neil Farrugia – formerly of the Belfield outfit – was close to breaking the deadlock with a close-range effort.

It seemed like only a matter of time before Rovers opened their account and they finally got the better of Students netminder Lorcan Healy in the 39th-minute.

Hoare rose highest to meet a strong cross from the left and edge the Hoops into the ascendancy.

This came as a welcome relief to the hosts and, from an enticing Byrne delivery into the area in stoppage-time, a powerful Mandroiu header propelled them into a 2-0 interval cushion.

A powerful Danny Mandroiu header propelled Rovers into a 2-0 interval cushion Photo by Paddy Barrett

Rovers were well on their way towards maximum points and with Towell and Burke being introduced off the bench, they continued to search for additional goals.

Their third of the evening ultimately arrived on 85 minutes when Burke was picked out in acres of space and fired clinically to the net to round off an accomplished performance.


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