Dan Carr gets Shamrock Rovers back on track against Students
Hoops remain level with Dundalk at the top of the Premier Division
Daniel Carr celebrates scoring Shamrock Rovers’ opening goal with Aaron Greene during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division game against UCD at the UCD Bowl. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
UCD 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
After their recent run of results, the narrow win they secured here thanks to Dan Carr’s first-half goal will have done Shamrock Rovers well enough. The points keep them level at the top of the table with Dundalk and the overall performance should provide reassurance that the goals will come as long as they are patient.
They were in short supply here, though, and their supporters would presumably have been able to rest a little easier had they had just one more to make the game safe. As it was, a weakened UCD side was outplayed and came close to being overrun on occasion but they still might have grabbed an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game when Josh Collins sidefooted a Neil Farrugia cross well over from close range.
The Students had given as good as they got through the opening stages but looked increasingly vulnerable as the teams settled and Rovers found an awful lot of space to run into out wide.
Of the home side’s two wide men, Richie O’Farrell seemed to have been handed the lion’s share of responsibility for dropping back and helping out when the pressure was on but when UCD pushed forward and then lost possession, they were repeatedly left shorthanded.
Carr and Trevor Clarke made the most of it on one side while Brandon Kavanagh, in from the start after Aaron McEneff injured himself in the pre-match warm-up, and Joey O’Brien did most of the damage on the other.
The hosts struggled too due to the pressure they were put under when in possession around their own area. They routinely found themselves having to knock the ball long then dig in as Jack Byrne and Dylan Watts got Rovers moving forward again.
Some of the build-up play, down the right in particular, was impressive, although the goal was more of a smash and grab with Aaron Greene was played into space before crossing towards the far post where Carr really only to turn it goalwards.
That was only his second league goal of the season but he could easily have had a couple more here. Technically, Conor Kearns, who did well overall despite sometimes living dangerously, kept the 24-year-old at bay but Carr, like a few of his team-mates, could have done with being a little more lethal around the opposition area.
As long as they all kept passing up the chances, UCD continued to give the impression that they felt there was the potential to take something from the game.
Early on, Yoyo Mahdy had given Alan Mannus a fright and the Rovers goalkeeper was beaten when Roberto Lopes had to clear off the line from Paul Doyle. But they struggled to maintain a serious threat as the game wore on and a Gary O’Neill free that flew narrowly wide from distance was as good as it got before Collins’s late shot.
UCD: Kearns; Farrell, Collins, Scales; O’Farrell, O’Neill, Doyle, McCleland, Farrugia; Mahdy (McDonald, half-time), Davis.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; O’Brien, Lopes, Grace, Clarke; Bolger, Watts; Kavanagh (Coustrain, 62 mins), Byrne, Carr (Boyle, 76 mins); Greene (Vojic, 83 mins).
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).