Coleraine will take narrow lead into Setanta Sports Cup second leg tie against Shamrock Rovers

Shamrock Rovers' Stephen Rice and Joel Bradley of Coleraine
Shamrock Rovers' Stephen Rice and Joel Bradley of Coleraine

Coleraine will take a 1-0 lead into next week’s Setanta Sports Cup first round, second leg tie against Shamrock Rovers after they secured a terrific victory in Dublin.

Substitute David Scullion was the hero as he struck a wonderful goal in first half stoppage time to send the large contingent of away fans home happy.

Coleraine started without top scorer Curtis Allen, while Rovers had eight new faces in what was their first competitive game of the season.

It was the hosts who threatened first as Sean O’Connor tried his luck from outside the box but it never troubled Michael Doherty in the Bannsiders goal with seven minutes on the clock.

Doherty was called into action on 14 minutes as Mark Quigley reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box, the keeper saved comfortably though.

Quigley was proving to be the danger man and he produced a moment of magic on 29 minutes as he turned and volleyed over from the edge of the box. Karl Sheppard was next to threaten moments later as his back post header almost caught out Doherty.

The Bannsiders suffered a blow five minutes before the break as they lost influential midfielder Ruairi Harkin to injury.

But his replacement Scullion became an instant hero as he fired Coleraine in front right on half time.

Paul Owens weighted a perfect pass for Scullion to run on to and he coolly lifted it over the advancing Barry Murphy in the home goal.

Rovers went close to drawing level four minutes after the restart as Pat Sullivan drew a good save out of Doherty from Chambers’ free kick.

That man Scullion almost doubled his side’s advantage on 55 minutes as Shane Jennings sent him clear in the box, but this time his dinked finished sailed over the bar.

Doherty was back in action on 63 minutes as he scampered across his line to deny O’Connor from a dangerous free kick.

The same player went agonisingly close seven minutes later after Stevie Lowry had upended Finn on the edge of the box. This time though the Rovers man clipped the outside of the post.

Coleraine were proving dangerous on the break with Scullion again providing the threat. His first time shot from Joel Bradley’s centre on 80 minutes went narrowly wide.

The Bannsiders should have wrapped up the game with four minutes to go as Ryan McIlmoyle picked out the unmarked Lowry in the box, but the midfielder volleyed over from six yards.

Coleraine had keeper Doherty to thank for the win as he denied Gary McCabe in the dying seconds pushing his free kick on to the post.

Shamrock Rovers: Murphy, Sullivan, Powell, McGuinness, Oman, Rice, Chambers (Robinson 87), Quigley (McCabe 58), Sheppard, O’Connor (Stewart 87), Finn.

Subs: Winn, Kilduff, McCormack, Robinson, Stewart, Foran.

Coleraine: Doherty, Canning, McIlmoyle, Beverland, Ogilby, Hegarty, Lowry, Harkin (Scullion 40), Bradley, Owens (Watt 88), Jennings (Boyce 75).

Subs: McVey, Watt, McMullan, Tomelty, Shannon.

Referee: P Tuite