Bohs and Rovers march on while Tribesmen and Drogs gain first points

Shamrock Rovers claimed top spot of the League of Ireland with a well-battled 2-0 win over potential title rivals St. Patrick’s Athletic. However it was Pat’s who enjoyed plenty of possession in the game but never really managed to break down the resolute Rovers defense. The Hoops played this to their advantage by breaking forward as quickly as possible whenever they could, and this came to fruition when Ronan Finn flicked a Gary McCabe pass to Chris Turner who struck home from 25 yards in only the eleventh minute. Right before half time McCabe should have put the home side 2-0 to the good when he missed a penalty but full credit to Gary Rodgers in the Saints’ goal who produced a great save.

Shane McFaul and Chris Turner battle in the air

Half way through the second half and Pat’s’ biggest chance of the night to make it 1-1 was squandered by Dave Mulcahy. His header went just wide after Stephen Bradley had crossed it in from a free kick. And only a few minutes after this Ian Daly up front for Athletic had a volley that drew a great save from Alan Mannus in the Rovers goal. Pat’s were looking strong but ten minutes before the final whistle a Rovers break ended up in a corner, from which Oman met with his head to put the game beyond doubt.

Pat’s played well but will need to be more creative up front if they’re looking to put up a strong title challenge this year. For Rovers, they earn their third win from three and send out a real message of intent pulling even further ahead of Sligo and Pat’s – most importantly, with both these teams already disposed of this season.

Meanwhile, Bohemians travelled to Dundalk in what most fans thought of as their first big test of the season. It turned out to be an exciting, even game with points shared as the right result. Dundalk started the game the brightest and put the pressure on Bohs. The ball was in the right end of the field from a Dundalk perspective, and former Bohs player Mark Quigley came close to opening the scoring, but put his effort over the bar. However it was Mark Rossiter, playing in midfield for Bohs, who almost scored a goal of the season contender in the first half, asking Cherrie to make a good save.

Quigley, who has been in fine form for his new club of late, again had a great chance to put the Lilywhites one up but was unfortunate to see his header miss the target. Afterwards, Bohs started to grip hold of the game, playing good football and eventually turning possession into some chances, with Stephen Traynor coming close to scoring. Cherrie again was equal to the attempts Bohs threw at him. It turned into an end-to-end game, with Dundalk coming close to scoring at times, including a goal-line clearance and possibly two penalties overlooked by the referee.

Both teams gave everything they could and played out an excellent draw, and while a share of the points is probably the fairest result, both teams know they could have taken all three on another day. Dundalk and Bohemians will improve as well, as both teams had a number of first-teamers out of action. For Bohs, 7 points from a possible 9 is a fantastic return considering the problems they’ve faced over the past few months.

Owen Heary competes with two Lilywhite players

The ever-improving Bray Wanderers built on last week’s shock victory against Pat’s to stun title-hopefuls Sligo Rovers to an action-packed goalless draw in the Carlisle Grounds. Sligo started very well, as they would have expected, with plenty of possession and the first real shot in anger came from John Russell, who’s dipping effort smacked the top of the crossbar and couldn’t find the net. Sligo went on to have plenty more possession but Bray got more into the game as it went on.

Bray also hit the woodwork through John Mulroy, as he gave himself the opportunity to strike after an intelligent first touch let him beat his marker, put him through on goal but couldn’t make the most of it. Sligo then went forward again and again but tries from Gavin Peers and Raffaele Cretaro couldn’t break the deadlock. Bray were strong enough to hold onto a point but Sligo will most definitely be disappointed with this results which leaves them 5 points adrift of leaders Shamrock Rovers, how and ever it’s still early days yet.

Eamon Zayed and Gareth McGlynn had put Derry City 2-0 to the good away at Drogheda, and looked sure to go on and wrap up the three points. But goals from Colin O’Brien and David Freeman in the space of three minutes gave Drogheda an unlikely point in Hunky Doreys Park. Drogheda, who seemed to have nothing to offer against Bohs last week, started the game brightly but it only took five minutes for Stephen McLaughlin six minutes to break away from the Derry half and towards the Drogs goal. His run ended in a pass to former Drogs player Zayed who had a pretty much empty net to stroke the ball into.

McGlynn made it two nil to the visitors in the second half, but the comeback started less than ten minutes later when O’Brien scored a fantastic goal – Drogheda’s first of the season – to get the ball rolling for the Boynesiders. A defensive mix-up then allowed O’Brien to get into the Derry box before he was taken down for a penalty that Freeman converted. After this turn-around it really looked as though the home side were going to go on and win it, but couldn’t take another of their chances. Drogs will still take the point however, the first of their season, after looking unlikely that they’d have gotten anything from the game.

Galway and UCD played out the third 0-0 stalemate of the night. This affair was a display of good goal-keeping all round, as Greg Fleming and Ger Barron were unbeatable on the night. Galway gain their first point of the season, like Drogheda, to get their feet off the ground whilst UCD are now one of five teams – half the league – on 4 points.


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