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Comment & Analysis | Sport

Five talking points from the League of Ireland

Dundalk fans

Seventh Heaven for Dundalk

Dundalk continued their impressive form at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division with a 7-0 thumping of Finn Harps in Ballybofey.

Six different Lilywhites players got on the scoresheet for a result that equalled Dundalk’s record winning margin in a league game, an 8-1 win in 1987 over Sligo Rovers, and was also a record league defeat for Harps.

Within five minutes the opening goal arrived from the first clear opportunity, Robbie Benson finishing off from Sean Gannon’s cross, and a second goal from Benson, a cracking strike from Daryl Horgan, and another on the stroke of half time from Ronan Finn killed the game off.

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From then on, it was a case of waiting to see how big the winning margin was going to be.

As it transpired, David McMillan, Andy Boyle and Paddy Barrett added three further goals to wrap up a convincing win, and with 10 points separating Dundalk at the top of the table and Derry City in third place, it’s already shaping up to be a two horse race at the top once again between Dundalk and Cork City, who are four points behind.

Late Late Show for City

Cork City manager John Caulfield has already spoken of the need for his side to keep on the coat tails of Dundalk and not let them get too far out of sight at the top, but they left it late to secure an important 2-1 win over Derry City at Turners Cross.

A goal down with six minutes remaining, the Leesiders clinched a dramatic victory in stoppage time, with centre half Kenny Browne heading home a winner that was wildly celebrated by the home support and players alike.

The visitors had taken the lead on the hour, with Niclas Vemmelund sliding home from Barry McNamee’s inswinging cross, and for a while it looked enough to secure the points.

But with five minutes remaining Greg Bolger’s floated free-kick was headed home by Danny Morrissey to set up an exciting finish, and in added time, a Bolger corner was met by a firm header from Browne to pinch all three points.

Afterwards, Derry City manager Kenny Shiels claimed a member of the Cork City coaching staff had used sectarian language towards him at the end of the game, an accusation that was dismissed by City manager Caulfield.

Youths shock Hoops

A memorable night for Wexford Youths was at the same time a hugely disappointing one for Shamrock Rovers, who slumped to a 2-0 defeat on their first ever league visit to Ferrycarrig Park.

It was a fully deserved victory for Shane Keegan’s side, who now have three league wins to their name in their first ever season in the Premier Division.

Hopes that a good midweek win over Sligo Rovers was the start of a revival for Pat Fenlon’s Rovers side were soon dashed, once they fell behind to a goal from Youths’ Andy Mulligan on 19 minutes, the winger’s third goal in four games.

In the second half Gary McCabe and Brandon Miele both tested Graham Doyle in Youths’ gaol, but the keeper was up to the challenge, and his side sealed victory with 20 minutes remaining, when Chris Kenny swept in Shane Duggan cross for Youths’ second goal.

Rovers are now in fourth place, ten points off the top of the table.

Honours even after Pats and Longford share the spoils

It finished all square at Richmond Park after St Patrick’s Athletic came from behind three times to earn a point in a 3-3 draw with Longford Town.

A goalless first half gave little indication of what was to follow, with Philip Gannon’s early second half opener for Town cancelled out by Sam Verdon.

Conor Powell and Conan Byrne then exchanged goals before late drama saw Town take the lead three minutes from the end with a twice taken penalty from David O’Sulivan, who went down under a challenge from Pats defender Darren Dennehy that earned him a second yellow card.

But Pats salvaged a point when Billy Dennehy’s cross was cleared only as far as Jamie McGrath, who smashed home an equaliser a minute from time.

Bohs woes continue

Sligo Rovers maintained their good home form with a 1-0 win over Bohemians at the Showgrounds, which condemned Bohs to their sixth defeat in seven games.

The only goal of the game arrived on 18 minutes, when a Jimmy Keohane effort was blocked and Kieran Sadlier’s neat flick set up Liam Martin for a close range finish and his third goal of the season.

Although Sligo were reduced to ten men after Mick Leahy’s red card midway through the second half, Bohs failed to take advantage, squandering several chances, and have now failed to score in seven successive games in all competitions.


Premier Division – Bray Wanderers 1 Galway United 2, Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 7, Sligo Rovers 1 Bohemians 0, St. Patrick’s Athletic 3 Longford Town 3, Wexford Youths 2 Shamrock Rovers 0.

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


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