Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Waterford FC
Gavan Holohan’s first-half strike earned Waterford FC a point on the road after a 1-1 draw in Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers.
The Blues had an early chance after good play down the right. Sander Puri linked up with Gavan Holohan to cross. Rovers cleared the danger but only as far as the edge of the area but Bastien Hery couldn’t find the target.
Izzy Akinade was next to threaten the Rovers goal. The home side failed to clear and the ball fell to the striker but he couldn’t get enough behind the shot and Tomer Chencinski made an easy save.
Chensinski was called into action two minutes later when Gavan Holohan broke through the Shamrock Rovers defence but the netminder was down well to make a good save at his near post.
The Blues continued to dominate the opening stages and create the better chances; Puri and Akinade linking up well to set up Paul Keegan but he couldn’t find the target.
The home side did create a good chance of their own after 20 minutes; Sean Kavanagh whipped in the cross from the left but former Blues defender Ethan Boyle couldn’t get his header on target at the back post under pressure from Derek Daly.
Shamrock Rovers continued to create and but neither Graham Burke nor Gary Shaw could threaten Blues keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
And the goal that the Blues deserved arrived on 38 minutes. Stanley Aborah did well in the middle of midfield to hold off two defenders before finding Gavan Holohan and his swerving shot wrong-footed Rovers keeper Chencinski and flew into the back of the net for the half-time lead.
Shamrock Rovers bosses the opening quarter of the second period with substitutes Brandon Miele and Dan Carr linking up but Blues keeper Vigouroux was more than equal to the effort.
Stanley Aborah fired straight at Chencinski before Holohan forced the keeper into another save from the edge of the area.
At the other end, Rovers were trying to make their possession count but weren’t finding a way beyond Vigouroux.
Aborah almost doubled the lead midway through the second half. Lee Grace fouled Bastien Hery on the edge of the area and Aborah saw his curling free kick drop a whisker wide of the post.
But the goal the second half pressure was looking for arrived for Shamrock Rovers after 74 minutes. Dan Carr crossed from the left for Graham Burke to head home at the back post to equalise.
But as much as the home side tried for a winner, they couldn’t find a way through a resolute Waterford FC defence as the Blues held on for a hard-earned 1-1 draw.
Waterford FC: Vigouroux, Puri, Barnett, Feely, Daly (Walsh 90+2); Aborah, Holohan, Keegan, Hery, Akinade, Duffus (Kasmi 78).
Subs: Kasmi, Martin, O’Halloran, Walsh, Griffin, Walsh, Corbet.
Shamrock Rovers: Chencinski, Boyle, Lopes, Grace, G. Bolger, Finn (McAllister 76), Kavanagh, Shaw (Carr 46), Gilchrist (Miele 46), A. Bolger, Burke
Referee: Neil Doyle