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Comment & Analysis | Sport

Five talking points from the League of Ireland

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin 22/4/2016 Shamrock Rovers vs Dundalk Referee Neil Doyle shows Shamrock Rovers' Gary McCabe a red card Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Referee Neil Doyle shows Shamrock Rovers’ Gary McCabe a red card (Photo: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

Dundalk see off Hoops to stay top

Dundalk maintained their 100 per cent away record in the league this season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Shamrock Rovers that keeps them at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

On a night to forget for Pat Fenlon’s side, Rovers defender Dave Webster put through his own net early on to give Dundalk the lead, before captain Gary McCabe was sent off just after the half hour for a reckless tackle on Stephen O’Donnell.

It was always an uphill battle after that against a Dundalk side who haven’t lost away in the league since September 2014, and when former Rovers player Ronan Finn scored his sixth goal of the season and Dundalk’s second a minute into the second half, the result was never in doubt.

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Ironically, it was the second year in a row that Finn has scored almost immediately after the restart in Tallaght against his old side, and he finished off a fine move involving Darren Meenan and David McMillan with a well struck shot past Barry Murphy from 18 yards.

Narrow win for Derry

Rory Patterson’s sixth goal of the season helped Derry City keep up the pressure on Dundalk at the top of the table, with a 1-0 win over Bohemians at the Brandywell.

The former Northern Ireland international, who rejoined the club at the start of the current campaign, finished off a move begun by Keith Ward’s pass through the defence to Barry McNamee, who slipped as he advanced into the box, and the loose ball fell kindly into the path of Patterson, who made no mistake.

After a lively opening half, the game produced little in the way of goalscoring opportunities after the break, but the win kept up Derry’s 100 per cent home record, and keeps them within two points of league leaders Dundalk.

Vinny at the double for Galway

Two second half goals from Vinny Faherty made it three wins from four for Galway United, and their 2-0 win over Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park moved them into third place in the table.

On a cold evening in the South East, it was Wexford who had the best of the opening exchanges, but the visitors broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half, when Faherty rose to power a header from captain Ryan Connolly’s free kick into the far corner of the net.

The Tribesmen doubled their lead in the 69th minute, with the same combination proving decisive from a set piece once again. This time Connolly delivered a long range free kick into the box and Faherty’s prowess in the air proved to be too hot to handle for the Youths defence, as he sealed victory with his seventh goal of the season.

Saints undone at the seaside

Bray Wanderers turned the form book upside down with a smash and grab 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic at the Carlisle Grounds.

The result ended Saints’ 100 per cent winning record away from home, and at the same time moved the Seagulls off the bottom of the table.

It was a result that did not really reflect the run of play over the course of the 90 minutes but Bray, under the guidance of Harry Kenny for the first time following the departure of Mick Cooke in midweek, rode their luck and banked the points with a goal on the stroke of half time.

A mix-up in the Pat’s defence allowed Ger Pender to pounce on a loose ball, and calmly place a shot between the legs of Brendan Clarke for what proved to be the only goal of the game.

The visitors were unlucky two minutes from time when McGrath’s lob came down off the underside of the crossbar, and were reduced to ten men in stoppage time when goalkeeper Clarke was red carded for deliberately pulling down Bray’s Andrew Lewis.

First win for Sligo

Sligo Rovers at last recorded their first league win of the season at the ninth attempt, with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Longford Town at the Showgrounds.

The Bit O’Red, who had previously only scored three league goals all season, doubled that tally before half time, and could have had more, with Longford goalkeeper Paul Skinner making three early saves before on loan Notts County striker Jordan Richards opened the scoring in the eighth minute from Craig Roddan’s pass.

Raffaele Cretaro added a second with a cracking 25 yard effort, and a Tristan Noack-Hofmann own goal added to Longford’s misery before the break.

The result means Town are now bottom of the table, while Sligo move up to 9th place.

Results:

Premier Division

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

First Division

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

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