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O'Neill Goal With Final Kick Gives Shamrock Rovers Crucial 3-1 Win

O'Neill Goal With Final Kick Gives Shamrock Rovers Crucial 3-1 Win
By Colman Stanley Updated

Shamrock Rovers were the favourites coming into their Europa League third-round qualifying tie with North Macedonian side Shkupi, and they certainly played like it, with Gary O'Neill giving them their third goal with the last kick of the game, in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

Rovers' first goal came in the 13th minute, when Graham Burke converting from the penalty spot. Their second came from a slick flowing move which was finished off by Dylan Watts.

They continued to exert pressure on Shkupi throughout the match, but were unable to convert any chances. Keeper Alan Mannus was also excellent, and was forced into making a couple of superb saves.

Shkupi managed to take full advantage of brief purple patch in the second-half, and grabbed a vital goal after a 30 yard screamer from midfielder Queven da Silva Inacio.

Rovers desperately pushed for a third after Shkupi's Walid Hamidi was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, but it looked as though the North Macedonian's would escaped with just a one goal deficit after a masterclass in petty time wasting.

It was not to be however, as Rovers were awarded a late corner. The ball was initially cleared but eventually dropped to Gary O'Neill who sent a beautiful curling shot into the top corner and the Tallaght fans into raptures.

O'Neill Wins It For Shamrock Rovers

4 August 2022; Dylan Watts of Shamrock Rovers celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first leg match between Shamrock Rovers and Shkupi at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

READ MORE: Shamrock Rovers' European Opponents Swear Revenge Over Airport 'Mishap'

The second leg will take place next Tuesday at 20:00 in Skopje, with the winner over the two games progressing to the play-off round and at the very least guaranteeing themselves a place in the Europa Conference League group stages.

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We reported earlier on the bizarre statement issued by Shkupi on their club website, where they were disgusted at having to fly into Shannon rather than Dublin, and swore that they would take revenge on the pitch.

Below is a roughly translated snippet from the statement.

"The reward of being a team is to respond as a team to the evil done to you in the same way, today our team will show you what a character it is, like lions on the field, it will show that there is no team that will not bow down to such cheap games, such cheap games should not have a place in football, they should not go unpunished, he You only landed FC Shkupi at the airport, but you landed PFC Ludogorets in Dublin, could you treat us the same if any Italian, Spanish, German or English team showed up? We hope that our government will respond to this situation, with my respect to the public."

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SEE ALSO: St Pats Secure Famous 1-0 Win Away To CSKA Sofia

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