Football | League of Ireland talking points

Football | League of Ireland talking points
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The latest round of SSE Airtricity League fixtures brought wins for Shamrock Rovers, Bohemian FC, St. Patrick’s Athletic, Derry City, and UCD.

Dundalk tasted defeat for the first time this season, while Cork City slipped to another home defeat.

Here are the main talking points – and all the goals – from Friday’s round of fixtures.

St. Pat’s stun Dundalk

Dundalk suffered their first defeat of the season in Inchicore on Friday night.

Daniel Cleary’s own goal in the 45th minute sealed a 1-0 victory for St. Patrick’s Athletic against the champions.

The Dundalk defender slipped comically when trying to deal with Rhys McCabe’s low cross, inadvertently turning the ball into his own net from six yards.

Jamie Lennon was outstanding in midfield for the hosts, as were Conor Clifford and McCabe.

Daniel Kelly flashed a shot wide after a rapid Dundalk counter, but the Lilywhites struggled to create meaningful chances against the organized Dubliners.

Forrester should really have doubled Harry Kenny’s home side’s advantage with 20 minutes remaining, but shot straight at Gary Rogers.

Dundalk felt they should have had a penalty in the closing stages after a challenge from Kevin Toner on Georgie Kelly in the box, but the referee remained unmoved.

Patrick Hoban shot wide in stoppage time, and Pat’s held on for a deserved victory at Richmond Park.

The win lifts St. Pat’s up to fifth on 11 points, while Dundalk sit in third on 15 points, 10 points off leaders Shamrock Rovers.

Rovers go 10 clear

Shamrock Rovers continued their impressive run with a 3-1 win over Cork City.

Sean Kavanagh and Aaron McEneff (two) grabbed the goals as the Hoops proved too strong for Cork at Turner’s Cross.

Kavanagh opened the scoring in the 21st minute, converting from close range from Greg Bolger’s low cross following good work by Aaron Greene on the edge of the box.

Hoops skipper Ronan Finn clipped the crossbar with a fine curling effort, before Cork’s Graham Cummins saw a header ruled out for offside.

McEneff doubled the visitors’ lead in the 36th minute in fortuitous fashion.

Finn found him outside the box, and McEneff’s shot deflected wickedly off a Cork defender, wrong-footing Mark McNulty and nestling in the back of the net.

The Leesiders pulled one back five minutes later.

Conor McCarthy hoisted a loose ball from a corner back into the Rovers box, and Roberto Lopes could only direct his clearing header at Dan Casey, who gratefully headed the ball past Alan Mannus.

However, Stephen Bradley’s men scored a decisive third in the 62nd minute.

Jack Byrne picked out McEneff with a beautifully disguised pass, and the midfielder unleashed a swerving drive from 25 yards which flew past McNulty.

John Caulfield’s hosts failed to muster a response, and are languishing in seventh place in the table with just three wins from their opening eight games.

Rovers, on the other hand, are now 10 clear at the summit.

They have played twice more than the majority of the chasing pack, but must now be considered the favourites to win the division after picking up 25 points from their opening 10 matches.



Deasy’s horror tackle

There was no shortage of drama in Ballybofey.

Derry City emerged as 3-2 winners in a tumultuous clash against hosts Finn Harps.

A late brace from David Parkhouse sealed a dramatic win for the Candystripes.

Aidy Delap had given the visitors the lead before Nathan Boyle drew Harps level in the 77th minute.

Parkhouse headed Derry back in front five minutes later, and doubled his tally with a finish from a tight angle in the fourth minute of stoppage time after a goalkeeping error from Ciaran Gallagher.

Mikey Place pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 96th minute, but Declan Devine’s Derry held on for all three points.

Unfortunately, the thrilling derby was marred by an ugly incident.

Harps were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute after a disgusting tackle from Colm Deasy on Ciaran Coll.

Deasy was shown a straight red, while former Harps captain Coll had to be removed from the pitch on a stretcher.

Thankfully, early reports of a broken leg proved premature, though Coll is likely to be sidelined for some time regardless.

It was a horrendous challenge from Deasy, who clearly made no attempt to play the ball, and one which has no place in football.

Derry sit in fourth place on 14 points, with Harps bottom of the pile on just two points.

Bohs see off Sligo to go second

James Finnerty and Dinny Corcoran got their names on the scoresheet as Bohs beat Sligo Rover 2-0 at the Showgrounds.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men, with Sligo’s Ronan Murray given his marching orders in the 43rd minute, and Bohs losing Rob Cornwall with 11 minutes remaining.

Ronan Coughlan and Kevin Devaney had chances for Sligo and Bohs respectively, but the main talking point from a scoreless first half was Murray’s dismissal.

Referee Derek Tomney decided the Sligo striker had dived on the edge of the box, and Murray reacted by throwing the ball at the official in frustration.

He was shown a straight red card two minutes before the interval.

James Finnerty produced a memorable goal to fire Bohs ahead three minutes into the second half.

Keith Buckley swung a deep cross into the box, and Finnerty met it with a spectacular, looping overhead kick which sailed over Mitchell Beeney.

Corcoran had two good chances to double Bohs’ advantage, and Keith Ward also went close for the away side.

Keith Long’s side got their second with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Corcoran’s initial shot from close range came back off the inside of the post, and the Bohs striker reacted quickly to tap home the rebound.

Rob Cornwall received his marching orders with just over 10 minutes remaining for cynically pulling down Romeo Parkes when the Sligo attacker was bearing down on goal.

Both sides finished with 10 men, but Bohs saw the game out to record all three points.

The win lifts them to second in the table, eight points off Rovers with two games in hand over their Dublin rivals.

Sligo remain in ninth place, behind UCD on goal difference, and five clear of bottom placed Finn Harps.

Students pass with flying colours

UCD thumped Waterford 4-1 on a poor pitch at the UCD Bowl.

Gary O’Neil, Yousef Mahdy, Richie O’Farrell, and Sean McDonald found the net for the students, with Scott Twine scoring the visitors’ solitary goal.

The pitch played host to multiple rugby matches in the days before the SSE Airtricity League clash, and the rain made conditions even more difficult.

However, the spectators – including Republic of Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny – were treated to some excellent football, with UCD taking the lead in the 21st minute.

Waterford skipper Damien Delaney felled UCD captain Gary O’Neil in the box after Mahdy’s pull back, and O’Neil picked himself up to slot home the resulting penalty.

Mahdy doubled UCD’s lead just three minutes later; heading home a rebound after O’Neil’s fine free kick struck the crossbar.

Zak Elbouzedi struck the post with a low shot for the visitors, who halved the deficit in the 36th minute.

Twine tapped home after Conor Kearns could only parry Aaron Drinan’s shot into the Waterford striker’s path.

Mahdy had time to hit the post before the interval, and UCD added their third goal just two minutes after half time.

O’Farrell rose highest to head O’Neil’s corner past Matt Connor, with Waterford’s defending leaving a lot to be desired.

Substitute Sean McDonald made it four in the 73rd minute, benefiting from some poor defending once again.

Connor’s clearance rebounded off McDonald after a poor back pass from Kevin Lynch, leaving the attacker to convert into an empty net just moments after entering the fray.

UCD are now eighth on seven points, ahead of Sligo on goal difference, and three points behind Cork and Waterford.



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