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Four talking points from the League of Ireland

Dundalk fans

Daryl at the double for Dundalk

Two Daryl Horgan goals at Dalymount Park against Bohemians on Friday night helped three-in-a-row chasing Dundalk open up a four-point gap at the top of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.

Stephen Kenny’s side have won six out of six on their travels this season and are unbeaten in 25 away league games since September 2014, and the latest win combined with Derry City’s loss, sees them once again putting a marker down early on as title favourites.

But the victory over Bohs was hard earned, as the home side offered a spirited challenge that was only undone by two pieces of fine individual skill.

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The opening period saw the champions struggle to cope with a well-drilled Bohs side, but the game turned in Dundalk’s favour on 38 minutes.

When Ronan Finn was hauled down just outside the penalty area by Bohs Dave Mulcahy, Dundalk players protested to the referee that he should have been red carded.

But as players from both sides argued, Daryl Horgan stepped up to curl the free kick into the top right hand corner of the net.

More magic from Horgan created Dundalk’s second goal, when he finished off a move that began with his mazy footwork on the left wing, and when his cross was headed back across goal by John Mountney, Horgan, who had kept his run going, headed home from close range.

Cork go second

Cork City moved into second place in the table, four points behind leaders Dundalk, thanks to Karl Sheppard’s first-half goal earning them a 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic at Turners Cross.

It was the Leesiders’ third straight league win in the space of seven days, and was deserved over the course of a 90 minutes that will not be remembered fondly by Liam Buckley and his Pats side.

The visitors were missing leading scorer Christy Fagan because of injury, arrived to the ground just 45 minutes before kick off and had 36 year old goalkeeping coach Pat Jennings making his league debut in his 4th season with the club, due to regular first choice keeper Brendan Clarke being suspended and injury to deputy Conor O’Malley.

The only goal of the game carried an element of fortune, with Karl Sheppard’s chipped shot over Jennings taking a deflection off Michael Barker and hitting the post on its way in to the back of the net.

Derry slip up to Sligo

Goals in each half earned Sligo Rovers their second successive win of the season in the North West derby clash at the Brandywell against Derry City.

The 2-0 defeat ended Derry’s 100% home league record, and was their first league defeat since their opening day reverse in another derby clash at Finn Harps.

Sligo dominated the opening period, and took the lead they deserved in the 27th minute through Raffaele Cretaro who headed the opener at the back post from John Russell’s cross.

The visitors doubled their lead in the second half through a fine goal from Jimmy Keohane, who held off a challenge on the edge of the Derry penalty area before firing into the bottom right corner of the net.
Hoops back to winning ways

Two second-half goals from Killian Brennan and Dean Clarke guided Shamrock Rovers to a 2-0 victory over Bray Wanderers at Tallaght Stadium, which for the time being at least, eased the pressure on manager Pat Fenlon after his side’s recent poor form.

The Hoops had come into the game on the back of three defeats from their last four league games, and did little to ease the murmurings of discontent among the home support in a largely uneventful and lacklustre opening half.

But the game turned in Rovers’ favour on 64 minutes after Dean Clarke was brought down by Bray defender Sean Harding, who received a straight red from referee Tomas Connolly, and from the resulting free kick Killian Brennan blasted a powerful left-footer that took a deflection on its way into the back of the net.

Dean Clarke sealed the victory with a his first goal for the club, finishing off a sweeping move involving Danny North and Simon Madden.

Limerick march on

Limerick kept up their remarkable start to the season, with a 7-2 thrashing of Waterford United extending their lead at the top of the First Division to 12 points.

Early last week the club announced that former Munster and Ireland fly-half Tony Ward, who played for the Blues for two years in the early-1980s and collected an FAI Cup winners medal in 1982, had been named as the club’s Honorary President.

The aim is that Ward will help attract investment from the local business community, and he couldn’t be selling the club’s merits at a better time, with nine wins out of nine in the league, 40 goals scored and only eight conceded, and a quick return to the Premier Division looking like it’s almost a done deal already.

The latest win, which included a first half hat trick from John O’Flynn, kept up the Blues’ fine goalscoring record at the Markets Field, where only once have they scored less than four goals in a league game so far this season.


Premier Division:

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

First Division:

Cabinteely 0 UCD 0, Drogheda United 1 Cobh Ramblers 0, Limerick 7 Waterford United 2, Shelbourne 2 Athlone Town 1.


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