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Rovers rescue a late point at home to Galway



Johnny Kenny salvaged a point for Shamrock Rovers with a late equaliser as they were made to work extremely hard for a share of the spoils by a tenacious Galway United at Tallaght Stadium.

Trailing to Stephen Walsh’s 55th minute lead, Rovers huffed and puffed before levelling on 84 minutes.

Dylan Watts whipped over their umpteenth corner of the night.

Substitute Kenny out jumped Walsh to head to the top corner despite Brendan Clarke, who had earlier saved a penalty from Watts, getting a hand to the ball.

The champions drop a place to third in the table, five points behind leaders Shelbourne, though with a game in hand as Galway remain fifth.

Adding to injury-hit Rovers’ selection issues was a suspension for defender Dan Cleary who had featured in every game previously this season.

Sean Kavanagh thus slotted in on the left of Hoops’ back three.

Aaron Greene and Rory Gaffney came in from the start, both having been sprung from the bench in Monday’s 0-0 draw at Shelbourne.

A Rovers bench here including no fewer than seven teenagers.

Galway manager John Caulfield watched from the stand as he serves a two-match suspension, his well-organised side frustrating Rovers throughout the first half.

Goal-shy Galway have scored just seven goals all season, and now only three in their last nine games.

But their defensive stubbornness in having kept six clean sheets from 11 before visiting Dublin 24 was evident.

It was the 22nd minute before Hoops created the game’s first clear opening.

Darragh Burns picked out Greene who turned to lay the ball into the path of Darragh Nugent who got right under his shot to balloon it over Clarke’s crossbar.

Lively and inventive, Burns was Rovers’ chief foil, the MK Dons loanee mesmerising Ed McCarthy to make room for a shot he also planted over the top.

Stephen Walsh of Galway United, centre, celebrates

Despite being on the back foot, it was Galway who had the first shot on target on 33 minutes, if Leon Pohls comfortably dealt with Al-Amin Kazeem’s low drive at his right-hand post.

Pohls had a little more work to do in the final minute of the half, stretching to push away a dangerous ball into the area from the hard-running Kazeem.

The second half thankfully began with far more spark to it with Rovers fluffing a chance to take the lead three minutes in.

A Watts corner initially dropped for Gaffney whose shot was blocked by substitute Walsh.

The ball remained alive in the visitors’ box with Hoops skipper Roberto Lopes laying it off for Nugent whose shot struck the arm of Jeannot Esua to concede a penalty.

But Clarke produced a terrific save down to his right to deny Watts from 12 yards.

Greene then miscued a header from Gaffney’s cross dead in front of goal before Galway stunned the home crowd to take the lead.

McCarthy hooked a clever ball over his shoulder for the run of Walsh who skipped past Kavanagh to find the corner of the net past Pohls.

Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Josh Honohan, Roberto Lopes, Sean Kavanagh; Dylan Watts, Conan Noonan (Johnny Kenny 60); Darragh Burns, Darragh Nugent, Trevor Clarke; Rory Gaffney (Matt Britton 79), Aaron Greene.

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Jeannot Esua, Rob Slevin (Conor O’Keeffe 90+3), Killian Brouder, Al-Amin Kazeem; Conor McCormack, Vincent Borden (Pat Hickey 90+5); Aodh Dervin (Stephen Walsh h-t), David Hurley (Maurice Nugent 95), Ed McCarthy (Regan Donelon 85); Karl O’Sullivan.

Referee: David Dunne (Dublin).

Attendance: 5,629.



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