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Highlights on Off The Ball


Shamrock Rovers were "completely outclassed" by Ferencvaros

Gavin Cooney outlines what happened to Shamrock Rovers in Europe against Ferencvaros.

Gavin Cooney, journalist from The 42, joined Richie McCormack on the Football Show to discuss Shamrock Rovers.

Shamrock Rovers will be in the European Conference League this season.

It isn't official yet. Rovers might make the biggest comeback in the history of the League of Ireland. But they will need to score at least four goals at home against Ferencvaros to do that. Ferencvaros pulled Rovers defence apart over and over again. Stephen Bradley's side was lucky to only concede four.

Rovers rarely threatened the Ferencvaros goal. Their midfield only retained possession consistently when Jack Byrne came off the bench. Byrne made a strong start, but then faded from prominence. Meanwhile, Ferencvaros started strong, stayed strong and then finished strong.

It was a complete team display.

Gavin Cooney outlines what happened.

"They were completely outclassed," Cooney said.

But before lambasting the performance of the Shamrock Rovers side, Cooney made sure to provide the context around the trip.

"In fairness to Rovers, they were arriving into extreme heat, 36 degrees, which didn't help obviously. They moved the kickoff earlier in the evening, presumably so Ferencvaros could make the most of it. And they arrived without too many key players.

"Chris McCann has been outstanding in the European run so far. He missed the second leg against Shkupi, which wasn't a major problem for Rovers but was tonight. They were without their captain, Ronan Finn, he was suspended, Graham Burke was injured. Even Idamo Emakhu, who has been a reliable scorer in Europe, he was ill as well.

"That didn't help but they were totally outclassed."

Ferencvaros escaped to a 3-0 relatively early in the game, but didn't get their fourth until the dying moments. It could have been much more as Rovers defenders suffered lapses in concentration and couldn't keep up with the physical qualities of their opponents.

But they did create some opportunities in attack. Rovers didn't have the speed to take advantage on the break, but they worked the ball smartly into good positions on different occasions.

A finishing edge and a touch of composure would have put them on the scoreboard. But without that goal, it is very unlikely that Rovers can come back in Tallaght.

"4-0 on the night, it could have been worse. Twice Ferencvaros hit the post. While they were outclassed, when Rovers do their video analysis, there will be moments for introspection on the goals they conceded. The first came from not dealing with a cross in from the right-hand side and the third was an absolute shocker, it was a calamitous goal to give away.

"It totally killed them off and came only three minutes after halftime.

"You make those errors at European level and you won't get away with it. You make those errors at Leinster Senior League level, you won't get away with it. It was a real shocker that, but they were going to give away goals because Ferencvaros were much too good for them.

"It was a fairly chastening night all around."

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Conference League Europa League Jack Byrne League Of Ireland Shamrock Rovers Stephen Bradley