First league win for Rovers

Sat, Sep 14, 1996, 01:00

SHAMROCK ROVERS earned their first league win of the season last night compliments of goals from Paul Whelan and Tony Cousins, but it wasn't a resounding performance from Pat Byrne's reshaped side. Bray, without their manager Pat Devlin, who was laid up following a domestic accident, certainly deserved a point if not all three. Rovers' sacked former manager, Alan O'Neill, and his assistant, Terry Eviston received a public apology from Rovers chairman, Alan McGrath, in the clubs's programme. McGrath said that he "let Alan and Terry down by the manner in which I handled it (their dismissal) and I sincerely apologise to them, their families and friends for the upset that I may have caused. Perhaps a more experienced football chairman would have seen the pitfalls a lot better than I did".

After a scintillating opening we could have had a 2-2 scoreline at the interval. Rovers' Ray Carolan had a fiercely-struck 20-yard drive well parried by Pat Trehy in the Bray goal after only 30 seconds following some clever play by Karl Gannon and new signing Lee Williams.

At the other end six minutes later, Robbie Horgan, Rovers' hero in their draw with St Patrick's Athletic last week, bravely smothered the ball at the feet of the in-rushing Ritchie Parsons after Williams had given the ball away in midfield.

Something had to give, and it did on 14 minutes. Rovers' central defender Leonard Curtis headed against the Bray crossbar from a Pat Fenlon free-kick with Trehy pushing the rebound out for a corner.

Gannon took it and Trehy, under no pressure, dropped the ball after he appeared to catch it cleanly and Whelan beaded the ball over the line.

Rovers should have had a second on 23 minutes but Williams completely missed his kick in front of goal, Bray substitute Tim Hyland did get the ball in to the Rovers net six minutes from time but it was ruled out for a foul on Horgan. Cousins then cracked a volley against the crossbar at the other end from a Williams cross two minutes from time before shooting home Rovers' scarcely deserved second goal with a well placed 25-yard drive in the final minute.