Saints slip up away to Drogheda – LOI Lowdown

St. Patrick’s Athletic will be kicking themselves this week following their loss to Drogheda United especially after league leaders Shamrock Rovers dropped points to Derry City. The title race isn’t over yet but it was certainly an opportunity missed from the Inchicore men.

Premier Division

Finn Harps 1-1 Dundalk

Mark Anthony McGinley made three fine late saves to scrape Finn Harps a point in the face of a Dundalk onslaught in Ballybofey.

The former Donegal GAA goalkeeper denied both Ole Erik Midtskogen and Michael Duffy in a contest in which the hosts could’ve been two up at half-time but would’ve been delighted in the end to leave with anything.

Then, in the last minute of 90, from a Patrick McEleney free-kick for Dundalk that was conceded by his brother Shane of Harps, Sonni Nattestad headed into the mix and somehow Harps survived.

Junior Ogedi Uzokwe then saw McGinley turn his curling free onto the crossbar.

What felt like light years beforehand, Barry McNamee and Midtskogen traded the goals.

In the 19th minute, McNamee drove a piercing opener – a left-footed strike that flew past Alessio Abibi into the postage-stamp top corner, having initially won possession from Darragh Leahy and playing a give-and-go with Adam Foley cutting in from the right.

Dundalk continued their uncertain start to the season with a first-half performance that was far from their best.

Within three minutes of the second period, though, they were level – Duffy with a cross setting up Midtskogen to head down and in for 1-1.

Caretaker manager Jim Magilton, the club’s sporting director, gave an apology in the lead-up to the contest following a breach of government restrictions with a number of the first team squad in Belfast last weekend.

The home side produced some commendable passages of play which offers further proof of their evolution in recent years.

When McNamee found the net, Harps were full value for their lead.

Dundalk, with only two wins from their opening 10 Premier Division fixtures have endured a testing start to the season with the departures of both Filippo Giovagnoli and Shane Keegan.

Twenty-nine minutes in, Duffy headed off target with Dundalk’s best opening with Han Jeong Woo providing the cross from deep.

Although not at their collective best, there was still enough individual quality on show from those in white – a notion that was confirmed when Duffy levelled it up after the break and his side were unfortunate not to win from there.

Having controlled the third quarter, Dundalk’s Zahibo just failed to get the sufficient purchase on a close-range header on 74 minutes and then, nine from time, Midtskogen was denied by McGinley’s tip over at full stretch.

Duffy got in one-on-one, only to see the Harps goalkeeper win the duel with a vital stop before Junior was also thwarted by McGinley in the depths of injury time.

Drogheda United 3-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic

St Patrick’s Athletic suffered another blow to their title aspirations as Drogheda United put them to the sword with two stunning first-half strikes from Dane Massey and Mark Doyle setting them on their way to victory.

If last week’s injury-time defeat to Shamrock Rovers was unfortunate for Pat’s, they were second best for most of the encounter at Head In The Game Park.

Jordan Adeyemo sealed the win after teenager Nahum Melvin Lambert had hauled the visitors back into the game late on.

United finished the weekend in fourth place, as their excellent start of a first Premier Division campaign in four seasons continues.

It took Danny Mandriou’s 92nd minute winner to inflict a first defeat of the season on Pats. After this loss, they risk losing sight of their table-topping rivals soon enough.

A last-gasp goal of their own had secured Pat’s the victory in this side’s reverse fixture on matchday two. Scottish winger Billy King broke Drogheda hearts that day and they had revenge of their own in their sights.

Daniel O’Reilly headed wide from a Jake Hyland free-kick in an even opening period that saw few chances of note created by either side.

Despite some sprightly passing sequences from Pat’s, their threat to the Drogheda goal was minimal in a first half where the home team continually looked dangerous on their forays forward.

Jamie Lennon was booked by referee Paul McLaughlin for scything down Chris Lyons 30 yards from goal.

Following his two-goal display at the RSC, Massey took on the responsibility and curled an unstoppable free-kick into the top left-hand corner and beyond the despairing dive of Vitezslav Jaros.

Pats offered virtually no threat in the first half, certainly not before Drogheda’s excellent second.

Doyle picked the ball up on the left and turned inside onto his right foot. He danced past two challenges, with a fortunate bounce of the ball en route, before feigning to shoot once and then sending a rising shot into the roof of the net. Again, Jaros was helpless to keep it out.

It was only after Doyle’s second that Pat’s took a real threat to their hosts. From a corner, Gary Deegan blocked Sam Bone’s on-target shot. It was too little too late at the end of the first half.

The visitors stepped it up significantly after the break, which considering the opening 45 minutes, wasn’t a mammoth task. Bone had a header easily claimed by David Odumosu while the goalkeeper grabbed King’s shot at the second attempt.

Matty Smith drove a shot just wide when he should have tested the young stopper and Chris Forrester sent a free-kick over. Just three minutes after his introduction, Melvin Lambert halved the deficit.

The Reading loanee scored his first goal in senior football when fellow sub Ben McCormack headed King’s deep cross into his path. He smartly turned and fired low past Odumosu. Just like in the first half, it was little consolation for Pat’s.

Adeyemo’s first Premier Division goal, a cool finish after Pat’s ceded possession in their own half, came two minutes from time.

Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Derry City

Derry City’s superb run on the road continued as they frustrated Shamrock Rovers in a lively game that could have gone either way with both sides reduced to ten men before the finish.

A Will Patching penalty preceded a controversial Rory Gaffney leveller, Rovers going six points clear at the top of the table, without looking especially superior to the visitors.

It was no shock that Derry competed with confidence and at times quality; the worry for Rovers, perhaps, is injuries have made their squad look a bit less formidable than it did.

Injuries to Neil Farrugia and in particular Aaron Greene have hurt the champions.

Derry were good but will probably regret not adding to their wins at Bohemians and Sligo since Ruaidhrí Higgins took over from Deccie Devine. This was one that got away to a degree.

Graham Burke was, unsurprisingly, pivotal early. He was fouled in Rovers’ first attack by Ciaran Coll but it came to nothing; eight minutes in he found Rory Gaffney, whose header seemed to be saved by Nathan Gartside but a goal-kick was given.

Derry wasted a glorious chance on 13 minutes when Daniel Lafferty made a mess of his pass when they broke three on one from a Rovers corner that badly exposed the hosts’ unit from their own corner. James Akintunde had done really well initially.

The slimy conditions troubled Patching particularly; surprisingly, the classy playmaker was finding it especially difficult to control the greasy ball in the early stages.

By contrast, his compatriot Akintunde was outstanding with his first touches and he combined with David Parkhouse, who spurned the chance. Dylan Watts, who was also bright, made way for Sean Gannon injured midway through the half.

Danny Mandroiu was relatively sidetracked in the first 27 minutes, at the end of which he danced into a shooting position only to see his effort deflected wide. Burke then slipped when about to strike, the conditions proving troublesome.

Sean Hoare gifted Derry a big chance on 49 minutes. Akintunde had too much pace for him from Lafferty’s pass and, rather than shepherd him towards the byeline, he got into a tangle, Akintunde going down and getting the penalty award.

Hoare saw yellow – not for the last time. Patching duly dispatched.

Hoare set about amends, crossing superbly for Gaffney and Liam Scales, who headed wide when he might have done much better.

Rovers were level on 56 minutes. A quick throw-in put Gaffney in and he got around Cameron McJannet before finishing with aplomb into the far corner, under where Rovers’ most vociferous fans usually stand.

It looked as if the throw-in were taken at least a few yards forward, but Derry’s complaints mattered little.

Gartside did brilliantly well to save from Gannon with ten minutes left, the first chance in quite a while, again Derry annoyed as they felt that Hoare had left his foot in on Ciaron Harkin after he won the ball.

Hoare and Harkin clashed again with seven minutes to go and this time the former St Patrick’s and Dundalk defender was given a second yellow, giving Derry the advantage to go on and seek a winner.

Patching had a couple of goes at realising that aim, Burke’s defensive duties at the death reflecting Rovers’ difficulties and, after Lafferty blocked off his run, the former Sheffield United defender also saw yellow and red.

Longford Town 0-2 Bohemian FC

Scottish wingers Liam Burt and Ali Coote provided the goals in each half as Bohemians maintained their revival as they had too much for second-bottom Longford Town at Bishopsgate.

Victory saw Bohemians build on last week’s equally convincing win over Finn Harps.

Longford are now without a win in 10 games since their opening night victory over Derry City.

Bohemians dominated possession in a helter-skelter opening to the game that started in pouring rain in the midlands.

Despite knocking the ball around encouragingly, the Gypsies initially struggled to breach Town’s well-organised rearguard.

Tyreke Wilson teed up a promising free kick for the visitors 20 minutes in after Aaron O’Driscoll fouled Georgie Kelly some 25 yards out, but it sailed over Mick Kelly’s crossbar.

Four minutes later Bohemians were close to finally sparking a dour game to life. Rory Feely put Coote away on the right and the winger just put perhaps a trifle too much pace on the cross for Ross Tierney arriving at the near post as the midfielder volleyed off target.

Well in charge, you sensed a goal was coming for Keith Long’s side and it duly arrived on the half hour. Dawson Devoy returned Wilson’s throw to the left-back who picked out Burt inside him.

The left winger took a touch, got his head up and smashed a right-foot shot to the far corner of Kelly’s net for a cracking third strike of the season.

Though Longford had a little more about them from the resumption, pressure on their goal soon resumed, Georgie Kelly heading over from Burt’s 56th minute cross.

Longford continued to work hard, almost snatching an unlikely equaliser on 72 minutes.

Dylan Grimes’ free kick came off the head of Bohemians’ defender James Finnerty to flash just wide for what would have been an own goal.

Remaining very much the better side, though, Bohemians rubber-stamped their win on 74 minutes.

Skipper Keith Buckley and substitute Andy Lyons were initially involved before Tierney’s cross wasn’t cleared allowing Coote to drill his shot to the net from close range.

Sligo Rovers 3-0 Waterford FC

Sligo Rovers were handed a 3-0 walkover after Waterford pulled out of the fixture, following a positive COVID-19 case in the squad.

The Blues decided against sending a squad to Sligo on Friday, after fielding their U19s in a 7-0 defeat to Drogheda United in the last round of fixtures.

This weekend’s fixtures:

Friday 21st May

  • Waterford FC V Derry City
  • St. Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians
  • Dundalk v Shamrock Rovers
  • Finn Harps v Drogheda United
  • Sligo Rovers v Longford Town

League Table:

First Division

Bray Wanderers 3-0 Cabinteely

Bray Wanderers cruised to a 3-0 win over local rivals Cabinteely to record their biggest win of the season.

Cabinteely had an early chance when Payne’s cross from the right was met by McPhillips, but he failed to get his effort on target. Wanderers then took full control of the game after this.  Ryan Graydon’s cross from the left was missed by Lovic in front of goal on nine minutes.

Ryan Graydon went on a great run two minutes later which ended in him been fouled just outside the area. Conor Clifford’s free kick was brilliantly saved by Hayden, but the loose ball fell to Dylan Barnett who duly fired to the net.

Barnet then turned provider on seventeen minutes when his cross from the left was met by Richie O’Farrell’s diving header which Hayden could not keep out. On 39 minutes, Joe Doyle did well in the right-hand corner and his cross was met by O’Farrell who headed wide.

Dean Casey fired a long-range effort over for Cabinteely on 57 minutes the hour mark. Ryan Graydon got in on the left a minute later and his pull back from the bye line set up Shaw, but the striker’s shot was blocked for a corner. Just on the hour mark Brandon Kavanagh tried to chip Hayden but the ex-Wanderer keeper saved.

Casey forced Maher into a good save on 63 minutes as Cabinteely tried to get back into the game. Maher was forced into tipping along range shot from Aspill around the post on 68 minutes.

Wanderers sealed victory on 73 minutes after Watters was booked for bringing down Graydon.  Barnett’s resulting free kick saw Gary Shaw pounce on a loose ball in the area to blast home.  Graydon’s trickery inside the area on 81 minutes resulted in him shooting narrowly wide.

UCD 0-0 Cork City

UCD were held to a scoreless draw by a rapidly improving Cork City side in Belfield on Friday night.

The Students came into the game on a good run of form, with three wins and a draw from their last four games, but they were reliant on goalkeeper Carl Williams for earning them a point.

Williams was preferred to regular netminder Lorcan Healy for his first senior appearance since May 2018 – when Collie O’Neill’s side were beaten 2-0 by Cabinteely in their title-winning season.

And the keeper, who spent the last couple of years with the Students’ Leinster Senior League side, had to be at his best to keep out fine efforts from Jack Lynch and Cian Bargary.

Lynch looked certain to have put the visitors in front after 14 minutes with a bullet header, but Williams showed great reflexes to palm the ball away.

Darragh Crowley looked certain to bury the rebound but Harvey O’Brien managed to dive in the way to divert the ball over the bar.

UCD were playing all the football in the early stages but they found a City side, who look more solid since reverting to a 4-4-2, too tough to break down.

The league’s top scorer, Colm Whelan, did manage to find a way through on the half-hour mark with a lovely weaving run but he pulled his subsequent shot past the post.

Danu Kinsella-Bishop should have done better when set up by Whelan moments later but, with the goal at his mercy, he scuffed his shot completely.

Whelan went closer with his second attempt at he received the ball on the edge of the box and curled a wonderfully struck shot on goal, but it flew an inch over the bar with Mark McNulty beaten.

Williams was the hero once more on the stroke of half time as Bargary danced inside from the right and smashed a shot goalwards, the keeper’s firm hand turning the ball over the bar.

The second half began with a flurry as Whelan tested McNulty from range, while Crowley shot wide and Williams was again alert to deny Cian Murphy close in.

UCD continued to probe but were restricted to shots from distance, while Williams was again alert to keep out Crowley’s back post header.

Treaty United 1-0 Athlone Town

Treaty United picked up a valuable three points with a 1-0 victory over Athlone Town at the Markets Field on Friday night. A goal midway through the first half from captain Jack Lynch resulted in the home side moving up to joint 4th position in the table.

It was the visitors who fashioned the first opening of the game as striker Stephen Meaney picked up possession on the edge of the box before turning and striking wide. Adrian Carberry’s side looked bright in the opening exchanges and a clever flick from James Doona into the path of Kurtis Byrne resulted in the former Dundalk man firing over Tadgh Ryan’s crossbar.

At this point, Treaty were growing into the game and their first opening arrived when a clever pass from Kieran Hanlon set Sean McSweeney away but following some clever work from the attacker, his lob over Schlingermann was too high.

Just three minutes later, the opening goal arrived. Speaking after the game, Lynch commented that his side felt Athlone were susceptible to late runs into the box and it was the captain who ran off his marker and was superbly picked out by McSweeney before coolly slotting home to score his first goal in Airtricity League.

Hanlon attempted to double the lead for the Markets Field outfit but his effort was tipped away by Schlingermann. The Midlanders created two chances to equalise before the half-time whistle as Meaney flashed a shot wide from the exact same position as previously and Derek Daly’s corner was headed wide by Dylan Hand.

In a scrappier second half where Treaty were comfortable in defence, McSweeney had a big chance to score but he headed over from Marc Ludden’s cross. The lively Joel Coustrain was introduced in place of Hanlon and caused panic in the visitors defence before teeing up Lynch but the captain’s shot was saved.

The biggest moment of the game arrived with 15 minutes remaining as Ryan pulled off a superb save to deny substitute Shane Barnes from close range. It proved to be the last big opening that Athlone created as a defence marshalled by the returning O’Donnell and Guerins, ensured that Treaty’s impressive start to the season continued.

The Markets Field has proved a fruitful venue for Tommy Barrett’s men with 10 points picked up from a possible 12 so far which gives Treaty the best home record in the division so far.

Galway United 1-0 Wexford FC

There was a collective sigh of relief at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night as Galway United won their first home game of the season when they ran out 1-0 winners over Wexford.

United left it late and it took a bit of magic from David Hurley deep into injury time to give the Tribesmen the victory.

Wexford performed admirably and the interim management team looked set to arrest the club’s run of losses in the First Division but unfortunately they have now lost all eight of their games in the 2021 campaign.

The Tribesmen hit the post twice in the 16th minute after Carlton Ubaezuonu played a good cross into the Wexford box. Padraic Cunningham got his head to the ball after a Wexford defender’s attempted clearance sent the ball skyward.

The striker’s effort nicked the right post before coming back to Gary Boylan, the defender settled well and sent a shot towards goal but only found the outside of the left post.

Galway had a goal disallowed three minutes later after Ruairi Keating nodded the ball into the path of Padraic Cunningham. The striker struck the snapshot well, and into the back of the net but the assistant referee’s flag was up immediately as he had strayed offside.

The visitors got their first shot on goal in the 32nd minute when Conor Crowley booted a long ball across the field to Luke Turner. Turner headed the ball across goal where Jack Doherty was waiting inside the box. The forward shot hard but Conor Kearns got down well to make the save for Galway.

Galway had the first effort on target in the second half when Boylan took a shot from outside the box in the 53rd minute after second half substitute Mikey Place won the ball in the right corner of the field.

Wexford came very close to snatching a goal in the 78th minute after some confusion in the Galway box caused by a dangerous cross from the visitors.

Kearns appeared to call for the ball and he was coming to claim it but the goalkeeper hesitated and allowed the onrushing Karl Fitzsimons to get in and flick at the ball but the effort bounced wide of the goal.

The Tribesmen snuck a last minute winner when McCormack played the ball out to second half substitute David Hurley on the left wing.

Hurley decided to turn the game on its head and went on a run, beating a defender and taking the ball inside the box before rifling a shot past Corcoran into the top right corner for Galway’s first home win since last September.

Cobh Ramblers 1-2 Shelbourne FC

Shelbourne moved to the top of the Airticity First Division after this come from behind win over Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park.

The Dubliners started brightly as Ally Gilchrist headed narrowly over from Kevin O’Connor’s corner after 10 minutes.

But it was Ramblers who grabbed the opening goal after a quarter of an hour when Ian Turner set up Conor Drinan for a close-range finish. Cobh had a perfect opportunity to double their advantage with a 35th-minute penalty but Shelbourne keeper Brendan Clarke denied Charlie Lyons and then showed great reactions to save Turner’s effort from the rebound.

But Shelbourne kept their cool and their composure and their efforts were rewarded when John Ross Wilson equalised early in the second half. Shels pressed for a winner with George Poynton coming close before Ryan Brennan headed home the decisive score 10 minutes from time.

This weekend’s fixtures:

Friday 21st May

  • Athlone Town v Cobh Ramblers
  • Cork City v Galway United
  • Wexford FC v Bray Wanderers
  • Cabinteely v Treaty United
  • Shelbourne FC V UCD

League Table:

The First Division truly is compulsive viewing these days with the battle for the promotion places set to ebb and flow. UCD will be disappointed to have lost pace with Shelbourne but the remain firmly in contention to win promotion back to the big time. The Premier Divison has plenty of plots playing out on a weekly basis none perhaps as interesting at that of Waterford who have appointed former QPR stalwart Marc Bircham as their new boss.

Be sure to check back next week for the latest round of results.

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