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Football | Shamrock Rovers make history in Waterford win

Shamrock Rovers have beaten Waterford United 3-0 at Tallaght Stadium to set an all-time League of Ireland record of 31 matches unbeaten.

Rory Gaffney, Gary O'Neill and Danny Mandroiu found the net for the reigning Premier Division champions, who move two points clear of St. Patrick's Athletic at the top of the table.

Waterford, on the other hand, remain rooted to the bottom of the table after suffering their seventh league defeat of the season.

It was a comfortable win for the Hoops, but manager Stephen Bradley will be concerned about injuries to Aaron Greene and the returning Neil Farrugia.

Bradley's hosts started strongly, and created a number of big chances in the opening quarter.

Lee Grace saw his header from Dylan Watts' corner cleared off the line by Darragh Power, before Gaffney saw a downward header from six yards saved by Paul Martin moments later after another excellent Watts cross.

In the 13th minute, referee Adriano Reale inadvertently blocked the ball as Rovers piled pressure on the Waterford defence.

Mandroiu found Gaffney with a clever pass from the resulting uncontested drop ball, and the striker took a touch on the turn before rifling a low strike into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

The Hoops nearly doubled their lead soon afterwards, but Waterford defender Cameron Evans made a crucial interception to deny Gaffney a simple finish at the back post after great work by Mandroiu and Greene.

Gaffney then hit the top of the crossbar with a fierce effort after cutting inside on to his left foot as Waterford struggled to contain the home side.

Greene was then forced off after a heavy tackle from Tunmise Sobowale just after the half hour mark.

Watts was heavily involved again as Rovers extended their lead to 2-0 from the resulting free kick. Mandroiu rolled the ball to Watts. The winger's first effort was blocked, but he reacted quickly to square the ball to O'Neill, who stabbed home from six yards.

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Waterford 'keeper Martin then produced a stunning save to deny Gaffney a second goal, diverting the striker's powerful effort over the bar for a corner.

Rovers led 2-0 at the interval.

Waterford were denied what looked a clear penalty in the second half, with John Martin appearing to be caught by Hoops centre back Sean Hoare inside the area.

Rovers put the game beyond doubt in the 54th minute, when Burke fed Max Murphy down the left channel.

Murphy cut inside and found Mandroiu in the box, and the former Bohs midfielder curled an effort into the corner, despite Martin getting a hand to it.

Farrugia, who made his return from injury for the final quarter of the match, appeared to suffer another hamstring injury.

The reigning champions and current league leaders held on for a facile victory in Dublin.

Next up for Rovers is a clash against St. Pat's at Richmond Park on Saturday, with Waterford travelling to Louth to take on Drogheda on the same day.

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