Five-star Rovers show their class
Reigning champions Shamrock Rovers maintained their impressive start to the season, hitting newly-promoted Gorey Celtic for five in this Premier Division clash in Gorey on Sunday morning.
Gorey Celtic 1 Shamrock Rovers 5
This was their second successive victory, and with a number of key players, along with manager Nicky Murphy, to return over the coming weeks, they have sent out a clear message of their intent, as their impact on this game showed their title credentials and ability to put titles back-to-back.
This was Gorey Celtic's second heavy defeat to the big guns having lost their opening game to North End United, and while they did manage a victory over Kilmore United in between, it's already clearly evident they will be involved in a relegation battle with at least six other sides.
This will bring their season to the bitter end, and what should be a novel battle for points from the teams in the bottom half of the table.
Shamrock Rovers pressed from the opening stages, taking the lead as early as the ninth minute.
Eamon O'Brien broke clear of the defence only for the advancing 'keeper, Ciarán Gartland, to take him down just outside the area.
While the 'keeper received a yellow card for his efforts, he could do little about O'Brien's resultant free-kick which sailed over the wall into the top right-hand corner of the net, giving his side a 1-0 lead.
Gorey Celtic, already in survival mode, still managed to create a chance of getting themselves level six minutes later when Dean McCann broke in from the right but drilled his shot across goal and just outside the right-hand post.
But Gorey's hopes were all but ended after 26 minutes when Rovers left full-back Mikey Dempsey sent over a high ball towards the far post which dropped over everyone into the opposite corner of the net.
That made it 2-0, with the champions now in total command.
Shamrock Rovers were enjoying lots of freedom in midfield so it came as no real surprise when they added a third after 33 minutes.
With the home defence failing to clear in front of goal, it left Ricky Dwyer with the simple task of picking his spot in the bottom right-hand corner of the net, making it 3-0 which was how it remained to the interval.
This was turning into a sobering experience for the inexperienced Gorey outfit, particularly when Rovers increased their lead in the 54th minute with O'Brien nodding in from close range.
But credit to the Gorey men who kept on battling, getting some reward three minutes later when Ross Reardon forced the ball over the line from close in to leave it at 4-1 but still with lots to do.
With the points secure, Rovers began to spray the ball about, adding a fifth two minutes from the end with Ricky Fox steering a superb left-footed shot from an acute angle across 'keeper Gartland into the opposite corner of the net.
There is now no doubting the Enniscorthy town side's potential to go on and retain the title but they will come up against much sterner opposition as the season progresses.
Gorey Celtic: Ciarán Gartland, Dion Leeson, Ross O'Connor, Craig Travers, Darren Brennan, Danny Reilly, Matt Kavanagh, Ross Reardon, Ger Carey, Dean McCann, Lee Cullen. Subs. - Thomas Cloke, Brian McDermott, Darren Curran.
Shamrock Rovers: Seán Allen, Alan Freeman, Podge Doyle, Danny Carroll, Mikey Dempsey, John O'Connor, Ricky Dwyer, Ricky Fox, Emmet Quirke, Eamon O'Brien, Martin McKeown. Subs. - Trevor Breen, Eoin McDonald, Jamie Fox, Jamie Heffernan.
Referee: Peter Rowlands.