Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Shamrock Rovers 0-0 Dundalk FC
A game of few chances and minimal flashpoints saw Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk FC share the spoils at Tallaght Stadium tonight.
While a draw - the pair's first goalless stalemate at the south-Dublin venue since September 2014 - always looked the likeliest outcome, it's a point which neither will be particularly content with as their slow starts to the new season continues.
The fact that Dundalk have picked up only two-points from their opening two fixtures is a concern more than mildly matched by their failure to score a goal. Defensively, the Lilywhites look sound having kept back-to-back clean sheets. But their inadequacies in attack is in need of addressing as over the two matches to date clear-cut chances have been at a premium. This is underlined by their failure to test Rovers 'keeper Kevin Horgan once on the night.
Patrick Hoban came closest to breaking the deadlock for Stephen Kenny's men when he whizzed an effort across goal on 60-minutes. The ball went inches wide of the mark and had the majority inside Tallaght Stadium breathing a large sigh of relief.
Rovers were equally as toothless. Brandon Miele cannoned the inside of the post with a shot out of nothing in the first-half, while Graham Burke had a couple of efforts which never troubled Rogers either side of the interval.
Dan Cleary, on debut, was an impressive performer at the heart of the Lilywhites' defence, coping well with the threat of Rovers frontman Gary Shaw, alongside Stephen Folan. New striker Marco Tagbajumi also got his bow, however, with little service, he fared no better than the attackers whom he replaced.
Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne; David McAllister, Greg Bolger; Joel Coustrain (Seán Kavanagh 80), Graham Burke, Brandon Miele; Gary Shaw (Daniel Carr 70)
Subs not used: Tomer Chencinski (gk), Roberto Lopes, Sam Bone, Aaron Bolger, Seán Boyd
Booked: Boyle (64)
Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers; Seán Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Stephen Folan, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Jamie McGrath (Krisztián Adorján 73), Ronan Murray (Dylan Connolly 56), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Marco Tagbajumi 62)
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Georgie Poynton, Dean Jarvis, Karolis Chvedukas
Booked: Murray (13)
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)