Shamrock Rovers defeated an under 23 side from Leeds United 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Tallaght Stadium. The Hoops led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Brandon Miele and David McAllister. Gary Shaw added a third before Irish Under 19 international Eoghan Stokes got a late consolation for United.
Rovers looked to get the ball down and play on the wet surface throughout the game, with Ryan Connolly putting in a fine display in midfield where he harassed his opponents and made great use of the ball that came his way.
There were some fiery challenges out on the pitch on a bitterly cold, wet and windy day in Tallaght; so much so that Leeds boss Jason Blunt withdrew Aaron Splaine early in the second half. The midfielder had already been booked and referee Paul Tuite had some words with his manager and he was soon substituted.
The first chance of the game had fallen to Leeds on nine minutes when Billy Whitehouse swung a cross onto Mitya Krizan’s head but he couldn’t direct the ball on target.
A minute later the English youth side were 1-0 down. Brandon Miele scored, slotting home with his left foot from close to the penalty spot, as Leeds failed to clear a Simon Madden cross adequately.
Roberto Lopes provided protection to the Rovers back four in the first half and his pass sent Madden away down the right. The Hoops captain’s cross found the head of Aaron Dobbs but his header looped just wide.
The final goal went to Leeds United and Eoghan Stokes. By that time he was playing against his own brother Shane who had come off the bench for Rovers. The Leeds player turned and slotted home with his left foot with just three minutes remaining but Rovers saw out the game 3-1 to claim their fifth win out of five so far in pre-season.
Splaine went in the book on 24 minutes when he ended Connolly’s penetrating run with a foul on the edge of the area. Miele hit the freekick around the wall but Bailey Peacock Farrell gathered the ball well off the wet surface at his own feet.
Moments later the ‘keeper was saving from Dobbs but he could do nothing about David McAllister’s header on the half hour mark.
Jack Vann had conceded a corner to Rovers and McAllister rose highest to head home Connolly’s centre from the edge of the six yard box.
The Hoops could well have led by three at half time when, just before the break from another Connolly corner, Danny Devine headed just wide of the left hand post.
Tomer Chencinski was vocal throughout his playing time in the game, marshaling his defence in front of him, looking to play the ball with his feet when the opportunity arose.
He should really have dealt better though with Alex Purver’s free kick. The ‘keeper almost palmed the Leeds skipper’s effort into his own goal. He did however pull off a decent save 20 minutes into the second half pushing away Krizan’s attempt.
Ronan Finn got his first game time with the Hoops since his return to Rovers when he came on just after the hour mark, before Rovers made eight substitutions which unsurprisingly upset the rhythm of the game.
With Kevin Horgan playing with a home based Ireland u21 side, Chencinski made way for Rovers under 19 goalkeeper Luca Gratzer; also away on international duty were Aaron Bolger (under 17), Trevor Clarke and Michael O’Connor (both under 19).
Substitute Gary Shaw got the third with six minutes remaining when he was taken down in the box by Farrell after a driving run. Shaw stepped up to dispatch the spot kick.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinksi (Luka Gratzer 75); Simon Madden (Luke Kiely 66), Danny Devine (Shane Stokes 66), David Webster (Sam Bone 66), Sean Heaney (Conor Fitzharris 75); Roberto Lopes (Conor Gleeson 66); Ryan Connolly (James Doona 66), Dave McAllister (Dean Dillon 66); Darren Meenan (Ronan Finn 62), Aaron Dobbs (Sean Boyd 66), Bradon Miele (Gary Shaw 66).
Booked: Sean Boyd (86).
Leeds United u23: Bailey Peacock Farrell; Mike Taylor, Paul McKay (Callum Nicell 60), Jack Vann, Tom Pearce; Billy Whitehouse, Aaron Splaine (Mallik Wilks 48), Alex Purver ©, Jack Boyle; Eoghan Stokes; Mitya Krizan.
Subs not used: Will Huffer.
Booked: Aaron Splaine (24 ), Eoghan Stokes (60), Alex Purver (71).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendance: 350 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ryan Connolly (Shamrock Rovers).