Anto Flood nodded home to send Bohemians top of the Airtricity League in their first home game of the season, with Drogheda United perhaps thankful not to be on the end of a larger scoreline. The 60th minute goal for the Gypsies seemed inevitable and came after an intense period of pressue by the home side. Flood’s goal finally sparked Drogheda to life, and they really made a game of the final 30 minutes but neither side could register on the scoresheet again. Despite a tumultuous pre-season Bohemians are looking strong while Drogheda must be worried that they have yet to earn a point.
Bray Wanderers and Dundalk both bounced back from their opening week defeats with dramatic 3-2 victories over St. Patrick’s Athletic and Galway United respectively. Bray travelled to Richmond Park to face the Saints and found themselves two goals down after 47 minutes. Wanderers defender Derek Prendergast conceded a free-kick after 24 minutes and turned the ball into his own net following Daryl Kavanagh’s delivery. Just moments after the second half began Pat’s extended their lead when another dangerous Daryl Kavanagh delivery, this time from a corner, was headed past ‘keeper Matt Greg by Pat’s defender Evan McMillian. Pat’s didn’t deserve to go 2-0 up and were only marginally the better team. Not that Bray were feeling sorry for themselves as they began their comeback when young substitute Conor Murphy, making his senior debut, poked one home from close range in the 70th minute. Five minutes later Murphy equalized, glancing home a Shane O’Neill cross. Bray completed the turnaround with eight minutes to go when Joe Kendrick’s free-kick deflected past Pat’s ‘keeper Gary Rogers and into the net.
Dundalk‘s win with the same scoreline proved to be equally exciting as they clinched the three points with a 87th minute winner from Shane Guthrie, formerly of Dundalk’s opponents Galway United. The sides went in level at half-time. Mark Quigley scored his first goal for his new club to give Dundalk the lead after 18 minutes, only for Galway United to win and then convert a penalty three minutes later through Joseph Yoffe. Jason Byrne made it two in two for Dundalk to continue his great start with the club by heading home from a Simon Madden cross on the 70th minute mark. Yet again Galway came up with a quick response when Sean Kelly found the top corner from 15 yards out, just six minutes later. But Galway’s resilience ended there and they had nothing to offer following the unmarked Guthrie’s winning header.
The UCD Bowl was the venue where Derry City picked up their first win since their return to the top flight. The Candystripes raced into the lead after eight minutes when midfielder Gareth McGlynn was sent through by Patrick McEleney and kept his composure to beat Students’ ‘keeper Ger Barron. Both sides threatened thereafter with Derry hitting the post in the closing minutes. The Northerners did double their lead when Daniel Lafferty produced a calm finish in the box with three minutes remaining.
On Saturday night, Shamrock Rovers faced fellow predicted title contenders Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds. The Tallaght men finally had the opportunity to put last season’s FAI Cup Final penalty shootout defeat to Sligo behind them, and they did just that by taking a 1-0 win with them back to Dublin. It was ex-Sligo man Gary McCabe who notched the only goal of the game, pouncing on Sligo ‘keeper Brendan Clarke’s parry from a Gary O’Neill effort. Sligo will feel aggreived as they had the best of the first half and Rovers defender Ken Oman surely should’ve seen red following an elbow on Alan Keene in the area. The game was feisty with eight bookings handed out by the referee. The Hoops showed their experience in weathering the Sligo storm and seeing out the 90 minutes to pick up what could prove to be a vital win.
Friday, March 18th
Bray Wanderers v Sligo Rovers
Drogheda United v Derry City
Dundalk v Bohemians
Galway United v UCD
Shamrock Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic