A winning goal on the night from Graham Burke, and several telling saves from goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski at the other end, ensured Shamrock Rovers’ safe Europa League passage as they had just a little too much over the two legs of the tie for their
A winning goal on the night from Graham Burke, and several telling saves from goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski at the other end, ensured Shamrock Rovers’ safe Europa League passage as they had just a little too much over the two legs of the tie for their game Icelandic opponents.
Stephen Bradley’s side, in addition to the monetary prize of €225,000, now meet FK Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Republic in the first leg of the second round of the competition back at Tallaght Stadium next Thursday.
A positive Rovers start saw Burke drive over the top after incisive play on the left from skipper Ronan Finn eight minutes in before Rovers survived a right let-off three minutes later.
Josef Jósefsson’s long throw was poorly cleared to 17-year-old Alex Hauksson whose shot took a slight deflection to bring a superb reaction save from Chencinski who then turned Hilmar Halldorsson’s follow-up out for a corner.
Rovers responded superbly to that fright to take the lead with a well-worked goal on 20.
Dave Webster and Luke Byrne worked the ball from the back before Brandon Miele cleverly skipped by the challenge of Johann Laxdal on the left to cross.
The chance looked gone as the centre ran right across the face of the Stjarnan goal.
Trevor Clarke thought otherwise as the winger did superbly well to pull the ball back first time to give Burke a simple tap in for his sixth goal of the season.
Minutes later, Burke found himself in space to shoot from distance to bring a save at full stretch from Haraldur Björnsson.
Stjarnan very much remained a threat, though, with Roberto Lopes doing well to deflect a shot from Eyjolfur Hedinsson out for a corner just past the half hour.
A foul by Jósefsson on Clarke was deemed outside the box as Rovers appealed for a spot kick on 42 minutes.
Burke’s shot from the resulting free kick worked Björnsson again, but Lopes had to make a timely tackle on Gudjon Baldvinsson from Stjarnan’s quick counter.
Chasing the game in need of two goals, Stjarnan enjoyed a little more possession on the resumption as Rovers had Chencinski to thank again on 61 minutes.
Jósefsson’s diagonal ball picked out Holmbert Fridjonsson whose cross set up Halldorsson for a first time shot the Hoops keeper somehow tipped over his bar.
With Michael O’Connor on for the hard-running Gary Shaw, Stjarnan keeper Björnsson tipped a Miele free kick round a post 10 minutes later as Rovers relieved the pressure.
Stjarnan substitute Olafur Finsen might have done better than volley wide at the other end minutes later as Stjarnan pressed for a life line as time ticked away.
But Chencinski was there again to make a smother save from Balvinssson on 84 before Rovers finished with a flourish.
O’Connor, twice, and Miele brought saves from Björnsson late on as Bradley's side had done more than enough over the two legs to book their place in the next round.
Shamrock Rovers: Chencinski; Madden, Lopes, Webster, Byrne; Finn, Connolly (Bolger, 87); Miele, Burke (McAllister, 79), Clarke; Shaw (O’Connor, 69).
Stjarnan: Björnsson; J. Laxdal, D. Laxdal, Gudjónsson, Jósefsson; Hauksson (Finsen, 49), Sigurdsson (Aegisson, 78), Hédinsson; Fridjonsson (Hilmarsson, 90+2), Baldvinsson, Halldorsson.
Referee: Glenn Nyberg (Sweden).