Report: Rovers defeat Dundalk at The Showgrounds

The Bit O’ Red got back to winning ways at The Showgrounds last night with a convincing 2-0 win over Dundalk.

The game was Rovers’ first home game since defeating Bohemians at the start of the month and our recent home form continued thanks to an Andy Boyle own goal in the 57th minute followed by Frank Liivak’s first goal for the club on 83.

John Russell made two changes with Frank Liivak and Greg Bolger coming into the team in place of Karl O’ Sullivan and Max Mata.

Rovers started well and forced some early corners, with one flashing across the six yard box from Adam McDonnell’s cross.

Soon after the game’s big talking point happened. Aidan Keena played the ball in behind the Dundalk defence and Liivak looked to be away only for Darragh Leahy to grab the ball on the ground with his arm as he fell to the floor, denying The Estonian the chance to attack and therefore adjudged to have denied a goalscoring opportunity and referee John McLaughlin showed him a red card.

Shane Blaney limped off after half an hour and Cameron Evans came on to make his Rovers’ debut in his place.

The Bit O’ Red pushed for an opener for the remainder of the first half but good possession and passing brought no goals.

In the second half Rovers did make the breakthrough. Aidan Keena burst into the box on 57 minutes before shooting down the throat of goalkeeper Nathan Shepperd. Keena was quickest to the rebound and he played it to Will Fitzgerald who’s cross went into the net off Andy Boyle to give Rovers the lead.

Max Mata was introduced for Adam McDonnell on the hour and Mata almost made it two with his first touch. Again Fitzgerald was in on the left and his cross was met by Mata but he couldn’t find the target with his effort.

Fitzgerald went close himself soon after as his shot flashed just over the bar and Rovers created numerous opportunities to double the lead but a mix of good defending and good goalkeeping denied them.

Kailin Barlow and Niall Morahan came on on 78 minutes and Barlow was immediately involved. His floated pass found the impressive and hard working Keena on the right and his inch perfect pass was met by Liivak to turn the ball home and make it 2-0 to Rovers. Liivak showed his delight as he celebrated his first club goal.

Luke McNicholas and the Bit O’ Red defence saw the game out from there on in to secure an important three points.

Next up is a home game with Drogheda United on Saturday at The Showgrounds.