Shamrock Rovers stall again with stalemate in Tallaght

Stephen Bradley’s side sit sixth in the league as they continue to struggle to find form

Limerick’s Chiedozie Ogbene with Simon Madden of Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Limerick’s Chiedozie Ogbene with Simon Madden of Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Shamrock Rovers 1 Limerick 1

Brian Kerr used to say he only got a real sense of how his team was shaping up in the league after the first full round of matches was complete. Even now that it is, the jury is still out on this Rovers side with Stephen Bradley continuing to predict better things soon but his players producing little enough here to suggest they can approach next week’s visit by Dundalk with any confidence that they are even close to finding their feet.

Their home form had been good enough to make them firm favourites to take all three points here while the early lead they took put them in a position to do so.

But Willie Boland’s side arrived unbeaten in four and Rovers allowed them to extend the run by dropping ever deeper until they conceded in the very last minute of the 90 with Rodrgo Tosi grabbing his sixth goal of the season.

Roberto Lopes’s first, a glancing header from a Graham Burke corner 18 minutes in, looked to have put the Dubliners firmly in control and the defender almost produced a carbon copy just after the break. The home side could certainly have done with a second but that one flew wide, Gary Shaw missed an earlier sitter and Burke saw a handful of longer range efforts either deflected or miss the target.

Having taken the lead, the locals had initially looked comfortable with letting Limerick come to them and the strategy never seemed all that risky given how little cutting edge there generally was to the visitors’ attack. Having failed to make the game safe, though, there was a growing uncertainty about some of their second half play and a sense that they were being nudged, far too easily, onto the back foot.

Tomer Chencinski was really only required to make one decent stop, with 25 minutes remaining, prior to the goal with Lopes, it appeared, almost turning a Lee Lynch cross into his own goal under pressure from Tosi.

However in front of him Rovers no longer seemed to be actually allowing Limerick to push the ball rather harmlessly about. The visitors were now threatening to hurt them.

Still, a couple of neat touches when he came deep in order to receive the ball aside, that was the Brazilian’s most memorable moment until then. He appeared to sense, though, that there was something in this one for him and kept at it, steadily becoming more of a threat as Limerick got on top of things.

Having fired straight at Lopes from close range when he had a lot of goal to aim at to either side, he narrowly failed to connect with a Dean Clarke cross but then connected perfectly at the far post with one from Chiedozie Ogbene who went largely unchallenged as he made a darting diagonal run from the right towards the area.

Rovers immediately awoke from their second half slumber but too late. In the few added minutes that remained they threw themselves forward and created a couple of half chances. It was good enough here, though, and even Bradley, like the minority of fans who booed at the final whistle, must be wondering when the improvement he keeps predicting will eventually materialise.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Chencinski; Madden, Lopes, Webster, Byrne; Finn, McAllister (Corry, 74 mins); Meenan (Bone, 59 mins), Burke, Miele (Doona, 67 mins); Shaw.

LIMERICK: Clarke; Kelly, Whitehead, Williams, Robson; Lynch, O’Conor (Hery, 28 mins), Duggan; Clarke (O’Flynn, 83 mins), Tosi(Walsh, 90), Ogbene.

Referee: D Tomney (Dublin).

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