Football | League of Ireland talking points

Football | League of Ireland talking points
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There were only three SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games over the weekend due to international commitments.

It is a busy time for the Republic of Ireland at international level with the senior, U21, and U20 sides all in action.

Here are the main talking points from the three Premier Division matches which did go ahead on Saturday.

Candystripes comeback haunts Hoops

Shamrock Rovers’ title tilt has suffered a setback.

The Hoops surrendered a two goal lead against Derry City to draw 2-2 in Tallaght on Saturday.

Stephen Bradley’s side scored twice in three minutes early in the second half, but conceded three minutes later before seeing their lead wiped out six minutes from time.

Rovers took the lead in the 52nd minute after a quiet first half at Tallaght Stadium in front of the crowd of 2,560.

Aaron Greene picked out the onrushing Trevor Clarke with a cross across the back, and the underage Ireland international smashed a fantastic low strike past Peter Cherrie to fire the Hoops into the lead.

Jack Byrne made it 2-0 three minutes later; showing good strength to drive forward from midfield and unleash a precise low strike into the bottom corner.

The Candystripes could have been shell shocked by the brace of quick-fire goals, but responded brilliantly to pull one back in the 58th minute.

Ciaran Coll applied a fine header to captain Barry McNamee’s cross to make it 2-1.

Byrne, Clarke, and Dan Carr had chances to put the game beyond doubt for Rovers, but the Dublin club were left to rue their missed chances when Derry drew level in the 84th minute.

Junior Ogedi-Uziokwe converted from close range after Rovers ‘keeper Alan Mannus parried Greg Sloggett’s powerful header.

The Hoops are now five points adrift of leaders Dundalk, but do have a game in hand over the Lilywhites.

Derry remain in fourth place on 31 points, three off Bohs in third, and three clear of St. Pat’s in fifth (who have played a game more).

Mountney’s purple patch continues

Rovers’ loss was Dundalk’s gain.

John Mountney was on the scoresheet again as Vinny Perth’s men beat Finn Harps 3-0 in Donegal.

Dundalk scored a trio of headers to move five clear of stuttering Shamrock Rovers at the summit of the table.

Mountney – who bagged a hat-trick against Sligo last time out – produced a wonderful cross from the right wing for Michael Duffy to power a header home in the 32nd minute to give the Lilywhites the lead.

The industrious midfielder then scored a header of his own from an in-swinging Patrick McEleney cross in the 43rd minute, with Harps ‘keeper Peter Burke unable to keep it out.

Brian Gartland heaped the misery on Ollie Horgan’s men with a 61st minute header from a corner to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

With UCD not in action at the weekend, Harps had the chance to move off the bottom of the table.

However, the heavy defeat keeps them stuck to the bottom of the division, with their goal difference slipping to -29 compared to UCD’s -21.

It’s better news for Dundalk, who are now five points clear of Shamrock Rovers having played a game more.

The Lilywhites are in ominous form.

Share of the spoils in Sligo

Sligo Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic drew 1-1 on Saturday.

The sides swapped late goals in the space of 60 seconds at the Showgrounds.

Jack Keaney gave the Bit O’Red the lead in the 80th minute courtesy of a delfected free kick from long range.

St. Pat’s responded within a minute; Kevin Toner volleying home after Gary Shaw’s initial header effort hit the bar.

Scoring late equalizers is becoming a habit for Harry Kenny’s men, after Simon Madden’s last gasp goal last week rescued a point against Cork City in Inchicore.

There are still just three points separating the teams in the table, with Pat’s on 28 points and Sligo on 25, but Rovers have a game in hand on the Dublin outfit.

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