Football | League of Ireland talking points

All the talking points from the fifth round of SSE Airtricity League fixtures, including a strong week for Shamrock Rovers, an emphatic win for Dundalk, the loss of Bohs’ 100% record, and a thriller in Donegal.

Rovers go top

Shamrock Rovers have bounced back impressively from yet another derby defeat at the hands of Bohs.

The Hoops beat Finn Harps 3-0 last Monday, and followed that up with a 1-0 away win over St. Patrick’s Athletic on Friday.

Roberto Lopes, Dylan Watts and Aaron Greene grabbed the goals against Harps as Rovers wrapped up the comfortable win before the half-time whistle in Tallaght, with Harps manager Ollie Horgan critical of the scheduling of the fixtures afterwards.

On Friday, Aaron McEneff scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in just the seventh minute at Richmond Park.

Kevin Toner was lucky to escape a red card after hacking down Aaron Greene as the Rovers attacker bore down on goal, and McEneff duly dispatched the penalty to give Stephen Bradley’s men an early lead.

Both sides had plenty of chances to score, with Mikey Drennan heading a Brendan Miele cross over the bar for the hosts.

McEneff, Aaron Greene, and Roberto Lopes had Rovers’ best chances, but the visitors were content to come away from Inchicore with all three points.

Magic Morrissey

Gearóid Morrissey is providing plenty of contenders for the goal of the season tournament.

The Cork City star scored a stunning brace as the Leesiders came out on top of a thrilling 4-3 scoreline against Finn Harps.

Cork fell behind twice in Donegal, with Harps’ Caolan McAleer giving the hosts an early lead, finishing calmly past Mark McNulty after a superb through ball over the top set him free.

Dan Casey headed an equalizer for the visitors, before Mark Coyle restored Ollie Horgan’s side’s advantage with a header of his own.

A moment of sheer Morrissey magic drew John Caulfield’s side level before the interval.

The midfielder controlled a long throw in with two delightful touches – keeping the ball in the air – and spun to unleash a fantastic strike into the top corner from just inside the area.

Morrissey then fired Cork in front in the 57th minute with another brilliant goal, showing good strength on the ball before rifling a rasping drive into the far top corner from 20 yards.

Graham Cummins’ 69th minute header from a corner made it 4-1, before Raffaele Cretaro pounced on a loose ball in the Cork box to score his first goal for Finn Harps.

Cork held out to win, and Caulfield will be hugely relieved that the goals are finally starting to flow.

Bohs finally concede

Bohs dropped their first points of the season and conceded their first goal on Friday night.

Derry City have been a thorn in the Phibsboro club’s side in recent years – winning on their last six visits to Dalymount Park – and Bohs had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Candystripes.

Both teams had chances to open the scoring in the opening 45 minutes, and Eoghan Long fired Derry ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half.

Former Bohs striker Stokes was fouled in the box by Bohs captain Derek Pender, and subsequently found the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Peter Cherrie made some superb saves for the visitors, but James Finnerty equalized for the hosts in the 76th minute.

Keith Ward produced a smart turn and driving run, and his pass into the box eventually fell to Finnerty, who slipped the ball past Cherrie to score his first goal for the Dublin club.

Both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils as Mick McCarthy watched on from the stands.

Keith Long’s men have dropped to second in the table behind Rovers, but will return to the summit if they win their game in hand.

Four star Dundalk

This was more like it from the champions.

Dundalk put Waterford to the sword in a resounding 4-0 win at Oriel Park.

Pat Hoban, Sean Murray, Daniel Kelly, and Cameron Dummigan scored the goals as the Lilyhites dominated proceedings against Alan Reynolds’ visitors despite their lengthy injury list.

Last season’s top scorer Hoban headed Murray’s pinpoint cross past Hugo Keta to open the scoring in the eighth minute, and Jamie McGrath had a goal ruled out six minutes later as Vinny Perth’s charges piled on the pressure.

Zak Elbouzedi and Aaron Drinan had chances for Waterford, but it was Dundalk who doubled their lead through Murray in the 36th minute.

The former Watford midfielder beat Keto with a low drive from 20 yards after a miscued Waterford clearance fell at his feet.

12 minutes into the second half, Kelly scored his first goal for the champions with a tidy finish after being played through by McGrath.

Dummigan added a fourth in the 90th minute after coming off the bench to also get off the mark for the Louth club.

Dundalk are now four points off leaders Rovers, with a game in hand over the Dublin outfit.

Wherefore art thou Romeo?

An early Romeo Parkes goal sealed a crucial 1-0 win for Sligo Rovers over UCD.

The students posed the Bit O’Red plenty of problems throughout, but Parkes’ fifth minute goal proved decisive.

Liam Kerrigan was alert to pounce on a loose UCD pass, and he played through Parkes, who took one touch before slotting the ball past Conor Kearns.

Sligo were lucky to lead at the break, with Kevin Coffey, Richie O’Farrell, and Gary O’Neill all going close for the visitors.

However, Liam Buckley’s charges should have doubled their lead in the second half, but Sam Warde couldn’t sort his feet out at the back post after Kris Twardek’s cross.

UCD pushed hard for an equalizer, forcing Rovers to clear one ball off the line, but the hosts held out at the Showgrounds.

The slender victory lifts Sligo up to sixth in the table, ahead of Cork on goal difference, while UCD remain rooted to the bottom of the table on one point.

Corcoran on Countdown

Think you’ve had a productive Monday?

Dinny Corcoran collected his Player of the Month award at noon today before appearing on Countdown just hours later.

The Bohs striker has been in red hot form this season, scoring in each of the club’s opening three games, including the winner in the Dublin derby against Rovers.

Corcoran collected his award in person, but made no mention of his impending appearance on the hit Channel 4 TV show later in the afternoon.

The 30-year-old scored 50 points on the show, but lost out to his competitor, who scored an impressive 97.