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James English scores the 500th goal in the League of Ireland this season


The number of goals scored in this season’s SSE Airtricity League Premier and First Divisions combined went past the 500 mark on Friday, jumping from 495 before the start of the night’s action to 523 afterwards.

By my reckoning the scorer of the actual 500th goal was Shelbourne’s James English, who netted in the 12th minute in Galway to follow Farrell’s goal for Shels in the 2nd minute of the same game and goals in the 3rd minute at Limerick, 5th minute at Athlone and 8th minute at UCD. I wish there was a prize for James’ strike – a Fiat 500 maybe – but he’ll have to be content with a shout out here [the English Premiership, moneybags league that it is, would no doubt dish out a Ferrari for the same landmark].

The 523 goals scored so far this season is made up of 272 in the Premier Division and 251 in the First Division. Given that the Premier Division has seen 118 games compared to only 95 in the First Division, the lower tier is therefore returning a better goals-per-game [GPG] ratio than the Premier – 2.6 compared to 2.3. Combined, the divisions have a GPG ratio of 2.5, with the 523 goals coming over 213 games.

A higher-scoring league [in terms of GPG] usually has less draws than a lower-scoring one and this is true when you look at the First Division this season in comparison to this term’s Premier. With only 15 draws in the 95 games the First Division is running at just 16% of games drawn, while the Premier is running at 25% [29 draws out of 118 games].

The First Division certainly gave value for money last Friday. 20 goals were scored in the 5 games, for an average of 4 per game in the division on the night, with no draws. In comparison, only 8 goals were scored in the Premier’s 5 games on the night, for an average of 1.6 per game, with 3 draws taking place.

The highest-scoring game on Friday was Drogheda versus Cobh Ramblers in the First Division, which ended in a 4-2 win for the Louth side. They now have scored 41 times this season, more than any other side in the First Division and second only to Dundalk’s 46 across the two divisions. Say it loud, they score the most goals in Louth!

Brian Quigley

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