Sporting Fingal 1 Shamrock Rovers 1

Sporting Fingal shared a point with Shamrock Rovers as the two teams drew 1-1 at Morton Stadium on Monday afternoon.

This Premier Division showdown had all the makings of a classic encounter, but a strong wind hampered both team’s style of play and it was hardly surprising that possession was easily squandered.

Conan Byrne attempted to break the deadlock on six minutes when he curled a free-kick just wide from the edge of the opposition’s penalty area.

The same player came close just three minutes later after he smashed a volley over, but it was striker Gary O’Neill who looked the most dangerous in front of goal for the home team.

O’Neill was presented with three excellent chances to add to his tally this season when he forced Rovers keeper Alan Mannus into two excellent saves and volleyed over from close range.

Rovers had some chances of their own with Thomas Stewart shooting wide after holding off two defenders and the former Derry City ace also let rip with a wicked half volley just after the interval.

James Chambers was the star of the show in this cagey contest. The midfielder stormed forward from midfield at every opportunity and almost added his name to the scoresheet when he forced the best out of Brendan Clarke with a free-kick.

Chambers then turned provider for Craig Sives, who headed just over and Ollie Cahill tried his luck from distance as the visitors grew with confidence.

However, Byrne turned the game around with a fine individual goal on 78 minutes when he turned his marker before firing the ball into the back of the net.

That goal should have been enough for Liam Buckley’s men to take the three points, but Chambers got Rovers back into it when his free-kick struck the arm of O’Neill and a penalty was awarded.

The ex-Shelbourne man made no mistake from 12 yards out as he rifled in his second spot kick of the season to ensure the Hoops escaped with a point.

Sporting Fingal: Clarke; O’Brien, Maher, Browne, Frost (Quinn 10); Finn, McFaul, Williams; Byrne, O’Neill, Zayed.

Substitutes Not Used: Quigley, Paisley, Kirby, Crowe.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Sives, Murray, Price, Murphy (Barrett 82); O’Connor (Dennehy 70), Turner, Chambers, Bayly (Rice 70), Cahill; Stewart.

Substitutes Not Used: Duggan, Cowan.

Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)
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