Rampant Shamrock Rovers finally click into gear
Brandon Miele nets a brace as Bradley’s Hoops overrun Wanderers in second half
Shamrock Rovers’ Dan Carr celebrates scoring a goal. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Shamrock Rovers 6 Bray Wanderers 0
Anything less than a win for the hosts here and things might have been getting chilly around Stephen Bradley even without the impending snowstorm.
Four changes by the Shamrock Rovers manager, though, had the desired effect of shaking up the side that had been a little fortunate to get out of Friday’s game against Dundalk with a draw and even the four goals they had bagged within an hour or so were more than enough to bring a little warmth to this particular part of Tallaght.
Brandon Miele’s second just as the game ended, gave Bradley the biggest win of his Rovers reign.
Bray may have rolled over far too easily but it was still quite a way for the manager, and his players, to bounce back from the early season disappointments.
A substitute against Stephen Kenny’s side at the weekend, Sean Kavanagh made his first start for his new club here and the Dubliner comfortably lived up to his manager’s big billing.
The 24 -year-old made a slow start and didn’t make his mark really until the second half by which time he had switched from the left to the right hand side of midfield. But there were moments after that when he looked a class apart.
His was goal number five, a powerful and slightly curling free from 20 yards out that rendered Aaron Dillon helpless. It was just one of a few standout moments during his best spell, though. He had teed up Miele for the second of the night and forced Dillon into his best save of the evening with a cracking effort from distance. The young goalkeeper will, at least, have something positive to reflect on from the night.
Kavanagh finished in the night at left back as Rovers cruised. That had seemed unlikely at the break by which stage they had led by one, a fine Graham Burke strike that clipped the underside of the bar for added dramatic effect.
Bray seemed to be getting a foothold in the game. However when Rovers doubled their lead within a couple of minutes of the restart it suddenly looked all over with goals by David McAllister and Dan Carr putting the matter beyond any doubt.
For Dave Mackey it was a bad way to end a difficult weekend. The new manager has retained a surprising number of last year’s better players but then the budget he inherited remains big and there already seem to be questions about the club’s ability to meet its commitments.
The concern before the season started had been that while he would have a decent starting 11 at his disposal he might struggle in terms of a squad. Here, a few of the expected starters occupied places on the bench and apart from a decent spell of passing towards the end of the first half, the ones out playing on the pitch seemed to accept their fate a little too tamely.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Horgan; Boyle, Grace, Gilchrist, Clarke (Coustrain, 73 mins); McAllister, Bone; Miele, Burke (A Bolger, 64 mins), Kavangh; Carr (Boyd, 68 mins).
BRAY WANDERERS: Dillon; McKenna, Douglas, Heaney (Kenna, 80 mins), Lynch; O’Conor (Sullivan, 63 mins), Noone, Galvin (Pender, 60 mins); Coughlan, McCabe. Referee: R Hennessy (Clare).