It was another entertaining weekend in the league of Ireland that seen 31 goals scored, 2 scoreless draws, more movement at the bottom and Cork City easing in to a 15th league win in 16 games. Dundalk kept some pressure on the runaway leaders with their 4th straight clean sheet when they beat St Pats, while Bray Wanderers failed to win for the 3rd time in a row with a draw at home to Sligo.
Derry City only managed a point away to Drogheda, it what was their second consecutive scoreless draw and 3rd in their last 5 matches. The Candystripes sit 2 points off Bray in 3rd and 3 points clear of Shamrock Rovers in 5th. Neil McDonald tasted another defeat in charge of Limerick as his side got beaten by an impressive Finn Harps in Ballybofey.
Bohemians got a massive win away to Galway in the battle to beat the drop, to which now moves them 4 points clear of danger. St Pats move back to the foot of the table after their latest defeat, but know a win can take them straight out of there.
Waterford held Cobh Ramblers in the battle between the top 2 on Saturday night, to keep them at the summit; but Collie O’Neil students took all 3 points at Athlone to move them into 2nd and just 2 points off the top. Cabinteely heaped more misery on Owen Heary; and Shelbourne with a comprehensive 4-1 win. While Longford hit Wexford for 5, but it was enough as Alan Matthews stepped down shortly after the full-time whistle.
So, what have we learned this week?
Bradley thought a lesson
When a side is 21 points clear of yours (Now 24), don’t say “they are not a good side”, because when you play with fire, you will always get burned. These were comments made by Stephen Bradley in the week leading up to his sides game at Turners Cross and albeit it was in comparisons to Dundalk’s recent success; it still didn’t need to be said. John Caulfield doesn’t need to be giving a reason to get wound up and giving these comments, Friday’s result was only going one way.
Shamrock Rovers did take the lead after a stunning effort by Trevor Clarke, which was also only the 3rd time that Cork have been behind all season but that was as good as it got for the Hoops as the Rebel Army stuck 4 past them. The current form of Cork is way better than Dundalk’s of the last 3 years, as Caulfield’s men have dropped just 2 points from 48 available.
People love to compare things in football when it’s better to leave it alone and just enjoy it for what it is and that’s no different to what Cork City are doing every week. They are hungry this season to stop Dundalk making it 4 in a row, they want to be the best; and they are. They lead their rivals by 15 points and they meet this week at Oriel Park. Can the champions prove their worth and be the 1st team to beat the Rebel Army? Time will tell.
Bray losing their steam
Despite sitting in 3rd, the Seagulls are going through a bad patch with just 1 win in their last 6 games. Their achilles heel so far, this season has been defensively and have been relying on the individual talents of Dylan Connolly and Gary McCabe to win them games and out score their opponents. They have kept just 2 clean sheets all season as manager Harry Kenny continues to find the right solution.
Dylan Connolly got his 5th goal of the season on Friday, it was also his 1st goal since the 4-2 win over Shamrock Rovers in April. A player with all his talent needs to offer much more, especially in front of goal. Anto Flood has scored just twice in 11 appearances and has flattered to deceive since his return to the league of Ireland. So goals from Connolly, McCabe and Aaron Greene are proving more pivotal for the Seagulls as they push towards a European spot.
Bohs move clear, for now
Bohemians picked up a massive win over Galway that lifted straight up to 7th and 4 points clear of the dreaded relegation zone. With 3 going down this season, the battle in the bottom half of the table is one that you can’t take your eye off. Lorcan Fitzgerald and Dinny Corcoran’s 5th minute goal was enough to give Bohs a 2nd win in their last 3 outings.
It was Corcoran’s 8th goal of the season and his re-signing back to Bohs from Keith Long has been an excellent one. The striker had ‘a year to forget’ at Richmond Park last season, due to his little or no game time when with St Pat’s. He is certainly getting his game time now with Bohs and we see they are reaping the rewards due to his fruition on the pitch. They are however by no means safe yet, but Long will look at this week’s fixture against Drogheda for a chance to pick up another 3 points and move further clear of the drop.
Finn Harps win again
After 6 straight defeats in all competitions and a massive injury list, Ollie Horgan has steadied the ship with 2 excellent wins on the bounce and scoring 6 goals. This past weekend they beat Limerick in Ballybofey for their 2nd home win in 4 days, and it was the first time since last June that they managed back to back league wins.
Danny Morrissey is back fit and scored 3 goals in 2 games this week, but after being sent off on Friday, he will now miss this weekend’s game away to Sligo Rovers. Ollie Horgan will welcome the upcoming break so he can nurse his players back to fitness as they look to beat the drop. As things stand they sit in 8th, 2 points above the drop and should they pick up another 3 points on Friday; they will move further clear of Sligo and co.
The work being done in Stradbrook is outstanding, and it’s finally showing on the pitch as Cabinteely recorded their 5th league win of the season to equal their best tally since becoming a league of Ireland club. They visited Tolka Park on Friday looking for a 2nd win on the spin, and they got it in superb style when they blitzed Shelbourne 4-1.
The win put a 4-point gap between them in 4th and nearest team Longford Town, as Pat Devlin looks to guide his club to their best ever finish. With the promotion chase pretty much between the top 3, it’s easy to forget the other end of the table; but Cabinteely are making some excellent waves this season and are currently 3rd highest scorers. They have scored more this season, than in all of last year and need just 2 more goals to equal their 1st year back in 2015. Next up is UCD on Thursday -where the students will have one eye on going top, but Cabo will look for only their 2nd win over their near neighbours.