Shamrock Rovers one away from consecutive League titles after grinding out win in Longford

Graham Burke was sprung from the bench to score the only goal of the game at Bishopsgate to edge Shamrock Rovers ever closer to their 19th league title.

ictory moves Stephen Bradley’s Hoops 16 points clear at the top of the Premier Division table.

It means they can now seal the deal at home to Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium next Friday, though they may not even have to wait until then.

Should St Patrick’s Athletic lose at home to Dundalk on Monday night, then Rovers’ back-to-back titles will be secured.

Though Rovers owned the ball in the first half, it was Longford who should have been ahead at the break with chances falling to Rob Manley, Aodh Dervin and Aaron Robinson.

Rovers continued to dominate possession into the second half but didn’t ignite until a triple substitution on 62 minutes when Dylan Watts, Danny Mandroiu and Burke were introduced.

Three minutes later they were ahead with Burke beginning and finishing the move.

The Hoops’ number 10 sent Rory Gaffney clear on the right to cross for Mandroiu. And though his close range shot was brilliantly parried by Lee Steacy, Burke followed up to shoot to the net.

Longford Town: Steacy; Elworthy, McDonnell, O’Driscoll, Lynch; Zambra (McCabe, 84), Robinson (Chambers, 88); Grimes (Warfield, 88), Dervin, McNally (Dobbs, 71); R. Manley.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Gannon, Hoare, O’Brien; Finn (Grace, 23), McCann, Towell (Mandroiu, 62), Farrugia (Burke, 62); Greene, Emakhu (Watts, 62), Gaffney (Duffy, 90+3).

Referee: Adriano Reale (Kildare).

Finn Harps 2 Sligo Rovers 2

By Chris McNulty 

KARL O’Sullivan netted a dramatic 93rd minute goal as ten-man Finn Harps fought from two-nil down against Sligo Rovers.

Johnny Kenny, who saw a 41st minute penalty saved by Mark Anthony McGinley, tucked home two minutes into the second half.

Niall Morahan’s half volley in the 56th minute looked to have the game beyond the reach of Harps, who had Kosovar Sadiki sent off after just five minutes.

Sean Boyd head home on 85 minutes to give Harps hope and O’Sullivan found the bottom corner in added time.

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