Rovers share spoils on the return of crowds to Tallaght

Rovers share spoils on the return of crowds to Tallaght

By Daire Walsh

In front of a passionate crowd of 1,000 at the Tallaght Stadium last night, Shamrock Rovers played out a 1-1 draw with Finn Harps in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

One of three games to be used as a trial event for the safe return of spectators to sporting arenas - Leinster’s clash with the Dragons in the RDS and the First Division meeting of Cork City and Cabinteely at Turner’s Cross being the others - there was an atmosphere within the ground that hasn’t been felt for more than a year at the home of the top-flight champions.

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Aaron Greene and Ethan Boyle in action as last night's match, Greene scored the opening goal for Rovers - photo by Paddy Barrett

An Aaron Greene opener looked set to make it a perfect evening for the Hoops, only for Adam Foley to respond in the second half for the visitors.

While this result puts Stephen Bradley’s men level on points with Sligo Rovers at the summit of the table, they remain in second place on score difference and with a game more played.

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A passionate crowd of 1,000 at the Tallaght Stadium last night - photo by Paddy Barrett

In recent weeks, Rory Gaffney has been the go-to man in the Shamrock Rovers attack. On this occasion, he turned provider for Greene’s deadlock-breaking goal in the ninth-minute.

After dispossessing Harps defender Kosovar Sadiki deep inside the opposition half, he played in Greene for a simple finish from close-range.

As a native of Kilnamanagh, it was fitting that he was the one to send the returning Hoops faithful into raptures.

Harps were struggling to get to the pitch of the game, but a narrow miss from Will Seymore on 37 minutes did show that Ollie Horgan’s men were capable of causing problems for the hosts.

The Donegal men regrouped at the break and began the second half in a much better frame of mind.

Ten minutes after the resumption, Barry McNamee picked out Foley with a fine pass and he fired past Rovers netminder from the tightest of angles.

The Hoops did their utmost to regain their advantage in the remaining minutes – recent Republic of Ireland call-up Danny Mandroiu hit the post late on – but a winner didn’t materialise and the holders will look for an improved result when they travel to Waterford next Friday.

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