Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Cabinteely FC.
The same score line prevailed when these two sides met on the first day of the season back in March. On that occasion the Hoops had led comfortably but Cabo fought their way back into the game to push it all the way to the final whistle.
This time it was Cabinteely who took the lead as the Hoops didn’t look like their usual selves in the first half. It was the visiting side that looked the more effective in the first half. They certainly weren’t inviting the Hoops onto them and created some serious opportunities for themselves in the first twenty minutes in particular.
Despite that though, it was the Hoops who went ahead in the 18th minute. A minute earlier Dean Williams had gone close with a free over the bar but before Cabinteely could fully recover the Hoops came at them again with right winger Lee McEntee taking the ball very deep at the end line and striking it from a tight angle to make it 1-0.
The lead didn’t last long. Within four minutes the visitors were back level after Clayton Walsh took possession of the ball after it came in from the left and slotted it past Kalvin Geraghty to make it 1-1.
Cabinteely continued to enjoy the better chances but it was Rovers who almost snatched another just before the break after Thomas Hannon sent a super ball from his own half out wide left to Kenny Cunningham who tried to find Williams in the middle but a Cabo defender timed it well to cut out the danger.
The Hoops had a far better purpose about themselves in the second half. They again went ahead in the 55th minute when Hannon cut in from the right and played the ball in to Williams in the centre of the box; the striker got the slightest of touches onto it to continue it on to Conor Behan who had come in on the far side and the midfielder carried it on a small bit further before shooting at goal and over the line. It was only after this that the visitors upped their game to the sort of level they had shown in the first half.
However, Rovers seemed more determined and alert and gave very little away at the back after that. For all the football there was in the second half there was little in the way of goalmouth drama or opportunities.
Shamrock Rovers: 1. Kalvin Geraghty; 2. Conor Fitzharris, 20. Darren Prendergast, 4. Andy Spain, 3. Eris Abulu; 23. Lee McEntee, 6. Jack Priestly, 15. Conor Behan, 16. Thomas Hannon, 11. Kenny Cunningham; 9. Dean Williams.
Substitutes: 25. Gavin Bazunu, 5. Adam O’Connor for Cunningham 79 mins), 8. Evan Smithers, 10. Jordan Tallon (for Fitzharris 10 mins), 19. James Clarke (for Behan 58 mins).
Match report and photos by Robert Goggins.