The main headlines from the weekend’s League of Ireland action were on the sidelines as Waterford manager John Sheridan apparently labelled the competition a “shambles” and a “pub league” and didn’t know the name of his opposite number, and the manager of defending league champions, Dundalk’s Vinny Perth.
On the pitch, Sheridan’s anger wouldn’t have been eased or may have been partly caused by the fact that his side let slip a 2-0 lead to Dundalk to eventually draw 2-2.
Either team could have won the game with poor discipline hindering the Blues who played out the final quarter hour with ten men.
That was crucial as first Pat Hoban on 84 minutes and then Daniel Cleary in injury time cancelled out Waterford’s goals from Matty Smith and Ali Coote – the player who had picked up that red card.
On Saturday, Cork City secured what could be a crucial win in the battle to avoid the drop. The leesiders won 3-0 against Sligo Rovers, who were the side immediately above going into the weekend’s action.
The home side took the lead somewhat against the run of play ten minutes before the break. Elliott held up the ball and laid it off to Dalling. The youngster on loan from QPR took a touch before slamming the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Sligo were pushing for an equaliser when they went 2-0 behind on 75 minutes as Elliott converted calmly from the penalty spot having been taken down himself in the box.
The Rebel Army sealed the win in injury time when Dalling slipped the ball to substitute Dinanga who showed great composure to place the ball into the bottom corner.
The win moves Cork out of the relegation zone with Sligo now bottom and Finn Harps in the promotion/relegation playoff place.
The spoils were shared in a tight battle at Tolka Park as Shelbourne and Derry City played out a 1-1 draw.
After lively opening exchanges, Derry took the lead on 30 minutes thanks to a Meite penalty. He sent McCabe the wrong way having been taken down by Seán Quinn for a certain spot-kick.
The experienced Ryan Brennan was to equalize from an assured header from a terrific Poynton free-kick with 14 minutes remaining of the 90.
Shelbourne had been seen by many to be a banker to face a relegation battle in this their first season back in the top flight since 2013 but Ian Morris’ side are however well in the hunt for a European place. Derry meanwhile are two points further back, though three of four consecutive bad results could put anybody outside the top three in trouble.
Bohemians meanwhile moved temporarily to within three points of the summit of the table following a 1-0 win at struggling Finn Harps.
Danny Grant netted the only goal of the game midway through the first-half, cutting inside Sadiki before smashing past McGinley.
Harps, who had their outspoken manager Ollie Horgan sent off in the second half, are second bottom of the table and look likely to face a relegation battle for the remainder of the truncated season.
Shamrock Rovers meanwhile dropped points for the first time this season as Stephen Bradley’s charges were held to a 0-0 stalemate by Saint Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.
Pat’s played for almost half the match with ten men following Shane Griffin’s sending off for a poor tackle on Gary O’Neill.
Greene, Finn and Farrugia all missed excellent first half chances for Rovers and their dominance did not reduce in the second half against a man fewer.
Pat’s worked hard and battled bravely to keep Rovers out though. Athletic manager Stephen O’Donnell was sent to the stand late on for repeatedly remonstrating with the fourth official and the home side might have nicked it at the death when Forrester went through with the cover apparently beaten but Scales got back to halt his progress. A winner for Pat’s would have been an injustice on Rovers though.
The title race looks to be between Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians now with Pat’s well in the hunt for a European place.
In the First Division, Cabinteely moved five points clear at the top of the table as they won the top of the table clash against Longford Town 3-1 at City Calling Stadium on Monday night.
Zak O’Neill opened the scoring as the Dublin outfit continued their unbeaten run in the league thus season, while Waters also netted and Knight scored from the penalty spot with 20 minutes to play. Gorman scored a late consolation for the hosts.
Elsewhere, an early penalty from Chris Lyons saw Drogheda United beat Galway United 1-0.
In the night’s other game, a goal from UCD’s Yohyo Mahdy saw the Students come from behind to beat Athlone Town 2-1 at Belfield.
In a dramatic 90 minutes, Gallagher and Keaney were red carded for UCD while Grogan was sent off for Athlone following a second booking.
That all means that Cabinteely are five points clear at the top of the First Division table in the bid to secure the automatic promotion spot. Behind them there’s a group of four (Drogheda United, Longford Town, UCD and Bray Wanderers) who are themselves four points and more clear in the promotion/relegation playoff spots.