Shamrock Rovers celebrate after their first goal - Photo: Shamrock Rovers facebook
Finn Harps returned to action at Tallaght Stadium - but title-chasing, table-topping Shamrock Rovers bagged the points to move five points clear of Dundalk at the summit as they won 3-1.
Rovers were ahead within seven minutes through Jack Byrne, with a well struck free-kick after Ronan Finn was fouled by Leo Donnellan.
And Harps found themselves 2-0 down with 16 minutes gone as they lost possession in their own half and Byrne slipped the ball into the path of Dylan Watts who finished well with a fine shot past Mark Anthony McGinley.
The Hoops made it 3-0 through Aaron McEneff on 37 minutes, before Harps pulled one back through Karl O'Sullivan three minutes later with a fine volley to lift the spirits in the visitors' camp.
Ruairi Harkin came on for Mark Coyle, with Stephen Doherty on for Mark Russell, as Ollie Horgan tinkered with his line-up for the start of the second half.
McGinley made a fine save to deny Finn on 47 minutes but battling Harps kept plugging away and from a corner Sam Todd reminded the hosts that the outcome was not yet certain.
Harps were dealt a blow when Dave Webster went off injured (he was replaced by Gareth Harkin) but Tony McNamee's long throws were giving Rovers plenty to think about.
Despite battling to the end, Harps were unable to recover from the first half damage.
Next up is a home game against Shelbourne on Tuesday in Ballybofey.
Rovers have a 100% record after six games, and have now won nine in a row – their longest winning sequence in the league in 54 years.
Harps remain on four points, ahead of Sligo Rovers and Cork City.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Ronan Finn (C), Gary O’Neill (Rhys Marshall 68), Jack Byrne (Graham Burke 68), Aaron McEneff, Dylan Watts (Rory Gaffney 76), Neil Farrugia (Daniel Lafferty 84); Aaron Greene (Dean Williams 76). Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Liam Scales.
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley (C); Mark Russell (Stephen Doherty h/t), Kosovar Sadiki, David Webster (Gareth Harkin 72); Sam Todd, Shane McEleney, Mark Coyle (Ruairi Harkin h/t), Leo Donnellan, Ryan Connolly (Adrian Delap 67); Karl O’Sullivan, Alex Kogler (Tony McNamee 67). Subs not used: Patrick McGarvey, Benny Igiehon.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).
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