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Match Reports

Shamrock Rovers 0 Burnley 4

Irish stars Jon Walters and Robbie Brady on target as Clarets win in Dublin

14 July 2017

Jon Walters needed just nine minutes to make his mark in a Burnley shirt as the Clarets’ Irish eyes were smiling in Dublin.

New signing Walters set the Clarets on their way to a comfortable opening pre-season win, perfectly steering home a precision pass from fellow ‘debutant’ Jack Cork.

And with Republic of Ireland team-mate Robbie Brady coming off the bench to add one of three second-half goals – tucked in between efforts from Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes – it was a successful night for Sean Dyche’s men in a gentle loosener against the League of Ireland side.

All three of the Clarets’ new summer arrivals started at the Tallaght Stadium, with former Leeds United full-back Charlie Taylor joining Walters and Cork in the side sent out for the opening half by Dyche.

The plan from the Burnley boss was always to utilise his squad by playing two separate sides either side of the break to supplement their week of work at the Clarets’ impressive Carton House training base on the outskirts of Dublin.

Walters, in fact, was given only the opening 33 minutes but that was sufficient for the striker to make a positive impression on his first outing in a claret shirt.

The Irish international, one of five in the Burnley squad who were warmly welcomed home by the locals in a crowd significantly swelled by an impressive travelling support, missed an early chance when he lifted a shot over the bar.

But when Cork slipped him through with the perfect pass moments later, Walters steadied himself and coolly slotted the ball home to open his account.

Shamrock also went into the game on the back of a heavy workload, having lost 3-2 to Czech side Mlada Boleslav in the opening leg of their Europa League second qualifying-round tie 24 hours earlier.

As a result, Rovers fielded a completely different side with the return leg in the Czech Republic coming next Thursday before they resume their League of Ireland campaign, which currently sees the 17-times champions sitting fifth in the table with 21 of their games gone.

Former Sheffield United and Shrewsbury midfielder David McAllister was given a run-out, having come off the bench late on in the European tie, to provide some experience to the home ranks following a recent 9-0 beating by Celtic as the match-sharpened Scottish champions warmed up for the start of their own European campaign.

But it was a largely youthful side which gave the Clarets a handy work-out to begin their public preparations for the start of the Premier League season, which is just under a month away.

Robbie Brady

Inevitably, in perfect conditions and on a decent pitch, Burnley dominated possession without being able to add to Walters’ early goal before the raft of half-time substitutions.

Cork, who slotted seamlessly back into Burnley duty, steered an effort into the side-netting at full stretch before midfield partner Steven Defour delivered a delightful cross which Andre Gray headed wide with Walters poised behind him in search of his second goal.

Walters’ exit gave Dan Agyei an early chance to stretch his legs and the young striker twice went close before the break as Rovers keeper Kevin Horgan was forced into a sudden burst of activity.

After keeping out a low effort from Agyei, Horgan repeated the feat to deny Gray following a through-ball from the lively Johann Berg Gudmundsson and then got down well again to block another chance from Agyei after Taylor had again surged clear down the left.

Tom Heaton was kept honest with one smart save to keep out a skidding drive from Michael O’Connor.

And after the Clarets’ skipper had made way for Nick Pope to get 45 minutes under his belt, the Dublin side had one further sight of goal through O’Connor, who again showed his shooting power with another long-range effort which Pope saved in spectacular style.

By then the Clarets were 2-0 up thanks to a tidy finish from Barnes after he had been released by Tom Anderson's fine ball from the back six minutes after the break.

And the goal as many of the home fans had come to see as those from Lancashire arrived with 20 minutes to go through Brady.

Ireland’s current international player of the year is a big favourite in his home city and showed a touch of class and sleight of foot to finish a chance created by a combination of Ireland team-mate Stephen Ward and Vokes.

Vokes then got himself on the scoresheet with a couple of minutes to go but even his goal needed the luck of the Irish as a thundering strike from Jeff Hendrick cannoned up off the back of the Wales international and looped in off the underside of the bar to complete a good night's work.

Burnley (first half): Heaton, Darikwa, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Defour, Cork, O'Neill, Gudmundsson, Walters (Agyei 34), Gray.

Burnley (second half): Pope, Lowton, Anderson, K Long, Ward, Ulvestad (Agyei 78), Westwood, Hendrick, Brady, Vokes, Barnes (C Long 85).

Shamrock Rovers: Horgan, Bone, Collins, Carpenter, McAllister, English (Dillon 61), Bolger (Cornally 40), Doona (Clarke 61), O'Connor, Boyd, Linthorst.

Referee: Ben Connolly

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