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Five talking points from the League of Ireland

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, Brandywell Stadium, Derry 8/4/2016 Derry City vs Shamrock Rovers Derry's Aaron McEneff and Shamrock Rovers' Brandon Miele Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty
Derry City secured a 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers (Photo: Inpho)

Dundalk cruise to victory

Dundalk head the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on goal difference from Derry City, after a comfortable 4-0 win over Longford Town at City Calling Stadium.

Ronan Finn was the Lilywhites’ hero with a hat trick, in a game where Dundalk were in control throughout.

Finn opened the scoring in the 11th minute from the penalty spot after Sean Gannon had been tripped in the box, and then Dundalk hit the woodwork twice, with efforts from Darren Meenan and Daryl Horgan both hitting the post, before they doubled their advantage midway through the first half, Brian Gartland heading the Lilywhites’ 1000th Premier Division goal from a Meenan corner.

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Although Dundalk were always in control, it took until late in the second half before they added to their tally.  Finn bagged his second goal of the night after good work from Daryl Horgan and David McMillan, and completed his hat trick three minutes from time to round off a good night for Stephen Kenny’s side, and inflict on Longford their worst home league defeat under manager Tony Cousins.

Derry’s good start continues

Derry City continued their fine start to the season, with a 3-0 win over Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell that keeps them joint top of the table with Dundalk.

It was the fifth win in seven games for Kenny Shiels’ men, and was also Rovers heaviest defeat under Pat Fenlon in all competitions.

Derry hit the ground running straight away, with Barry McNamee and Ronan Curtis both having efforts blocked in the first minute, but Rovers’ respite was only temporary, as Curtis opened the scoring from close range with just over two minutes on the clock.

The visitors were two down by the midway point of the first half, with Harry Monaghan opening his account for the season with a powerful header from Barry McNamee’s inviting left wing cross.

Any hopes of a second half revival from the Hoops were snuffed out just before the hour, when Derry increased their lead from the penalty spot, after Rory Patterson was brought down by Max Blanchard.

The striker took the kick himself and blasted the ball into the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Another home win for Galway

Galway United continued their good start to the season, and moved into third place in the table with a hard earned 1-0 win over Finn Harps at Eamonn Deacy Park.

The game was no classic, and almost devoid of anything resembling a goalscoring opportunity in the opening 45 minutes, and it took an opportunist goal in the second half from former Limerick striker Vinny Faherty to seal victory for Tommy Dunne’s side.

The decisive moment arrived just before the hour, after a neat build up involving Ryan Curran and Kevin Devaney allowed the winger to hit the by-line before firing in a low cross that Faherty tapped home at the far post.

Cork held by Youths

A late equaliser from Cork City’s Mark O’Sullivan salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Leesiders at home to Wexford Youths, denying Shane Keegan’s side their second successive league win.

The result will no doubt be seen by everyone in the home camp as two points dropped for City, who paid the price for a poor first half display.

The visitors went ahead in the 14th minute after the ball broke kindly for Eric Molloy on the edge of the box, and he fired in a deflected effort into the bottom right corner of the net to give Youths a deserved lead at half time.

City laid siege to the Wexford goal in the second half, but for a long time were denied by an outstanding display by Wexford captain and goalkeeper Graham Doyle, and when Doyle was eventually beaten, Sean Maguire struck the woodwork and Kenny Browne hit the rebound wide from almost under the bar.

But City manager John Caulfield introduced Mark O’Sullivan as a substitute, and the striker saved City’s blushes when he rose highest to head home a deflected cross for a deserved equaliser seven minutes from time.

Pats and Sligo share the points

It was honours even at Richmond Park where St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers shared a 1-1 draw, a result that means that Rovers have failed to win any of their opening seven league games of the season for the first time since 1987.

The visitors did enjoy the better of the first half, and were worthy of their half time lead that came courtesy of Gary Boylan’s first goal for the club, when he pounced to finish from close range after Pats’ keeper Brendan Clarke parried a Kieran Sadlier free kick.

The goal was only the Bit O’Red’s third in seven SSE Airtricity Premier Division games this season, but it failed to claim all three points as Pats striker Christy Fagan kept up his good goalscoring run with a 65th minute equaliser.

A cross from Ian Bermingham found Fagan in space, and he buried a powerful header into the Sligo net to record his fifth goal of the season in six games and level the scores.


Premier Division:

Bray Wanderers 0 Bohemians 2, Derry City 3 Shamrock Rovers 0, Galway United 1 Finn Harps 0, Longford Town 0 Dundalk 4, St. Patrick’s Athletic 1 Sligo Rovers 1.

First Division:

Athlone Town 3 Waterford United 3, Cabinteely 1 Cobh Ramblers 2, Drogheda United 0 Limerick 3, Shelbourne 1 UCD 2.


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