Shamrock Rovers and Moyne share the spoils
Scoreless stalemate in big Enniscorthy derby
Local rivals Shamrock Rovers and Moyne Rangers had to be content with a point apiece after they played out a scoreless stalemate in their Premier Division showdown at Peter Quinn Park on Sunday.
Shamrock Rovers 0 Moyne Rangers 0
In a tense battle both sides were itching for a tantalising three points that would be a real shot in the arm for their league hopes, but it was fellow title-hopefuls North End United and Gorey Rangers that would have been happiest with the result after the sides cancelled each other out.
Moyne Rangers played the better football, particularly in the first-half, but for all their possession and neat passing they often lacked a cutting edge and chances of note were few and far between.
Rovers, on the other hand, struggled to get any real rhythm to their game but carved out some decent openings, and they steadily improved as the game wore on, with the best chance of the contest falling to Marty Kelly midway through the second-half, but he dwelt too long on it and goalkeeper Pa Doyle was able to snuff out the danger.
The hosts actually had their first sniff of goal inside two minutes when Eamonn O'Brien pounced on some hesitancy in the Moyne defence, but Doyle spread himself well to thwart his effort.
Moyne Rangers target man Peter Marsden did well to cushion a header back to Richie Farrell, but the defender, who was solid throughout the 90 minutes, was off target with his half-volley.
On 17 minutes Mikey Dempsey sent Martin McKeown racing towards goal but Pa Doyle was quickly off his line to block his attempt at the edge of his area.
Although Moyne had weaved some eye-pleasing moves in the opening period with the assured Ryan Mahon to the fore, it was from set-pieces that they looked most dangerous, twice going close within a six-minute period.
Just before the half-hour mark John Peare whipped in a free-kick from near the byline to the left of the goal, and when a defensive header fell back at his feet his curling strike was cleared off the line.
Moments later Rory O'Connor got his head on the end of a right-wing free from Ryan Mahon, but under pressure from defenders, his effort drifted wide of the left post.
Rangers went even closer on 41 minutes when Alan Freeman almost diverted an Alan Tobin cross into his own net, but he scrambled well to prevent it from crossing the whitewash.
Seconds later at the other end Martin McKeown's saw his scuffed volley blocked at the expense of a corner, and when the ball fell at John O'Connor's feet after the flag kick his curling left-footed effort from the edge of the area was gathered by Pa Doyle.
Shamrock Rovers showed greater urgency in the second-half and should have taken the lead in the 67th minute.
Substitute Ricky Dwyer, who made a big impact when introduced, sent in a cross from the left which found Marty Kelly in space, but he tried to play the ball around the goalkeeper when it may have been more prudent to apply an instinctive finish, allowing Doyle to gather at his feet.
The only semblance of a goal threat after that was when Seán Wildes' acrobatic effort from a Ricky Dwyer corner flew over the crossbar, and news of the result surely raised a smile or two around Hollygrove and Ramstown.
Shamrock Rovers: Lee Murphy, Alan Freeman, Mikey Dempsey, Podge Doyle, Ian Sinnott, John O'Connor, Eoin McDonald, James Carty, Marty Kelly, Eamonn O'Brien, Martin McKeown. Subs. - Ricky Dwyer for O'Brien, Seán Wildes for McDonald, Dan Carroll for Dempsey, also Trevor Breen, Seán Allen.
Moyne Rangers: Pa Doyle, Rory O'Connor, Seán Burke, Pa O'Shea, Richie Farrell, Ryan Mahon, James Peare, Seán Kenny, Peter Marsden, Alan Tobin, John Peare. Subs. - Tomás Mahon for Tobin, Conor Bruce for O'Connor, Mark Kirwan for Marsden, also Tommy Foley, Pa O'Rourke.
Referee: Derek Campion.