The lack of goals in the Premier Division this weekend – there were only seven across the five games held – was more than made up for by a First Division goal fest. In all 21 goals were scored in the lower division’s five games, meaning an average of more than four goals-per-game was achieved.
Indeed, two seven-goal thrillers were served up in the First Division. Tolka Park saw leaders Shelbourneedge closer to promotion with a 5-2 victory over Wexford FC. Kabia and Kilduff got a brace each and at this stage Shelbourne have the finish line in sight, and their destiny in their own hands. Eight points looks like an unassailable cushion with just five games remaining.
The seven goals in Limerick between the hosts and Cobh Ramblers were more evenly split, with the visitors running out 4-3 winners. The result, combined with Bray Wanderers’ 3-0 win over Athlone Town at the Carlisle Grounds, means that Limerick stay in the bottom half of the table, three points behind Bray and with an inferior goal difference. Bray could still squeeze into a play-off spot but Limerick must surely feel that ship has sailed.
Neither Bray nor Shelbourne had the biggest winning margin of the weekend though; that honour went to Longford who put four without reply past Galway.Drogheda and Cabinteely played out a 0-0 draw at United Park and so were the only game in the division to contribute nothing to the goal fest!
The significance of the lack of goals in the Premier Division and surplus of them in the First Division is that for the first time this term the lower league has more goals scored – 297 as opposed to 296. Next week should see both leagues go past 300 goals and their combined totals top 600.
The 297 goals in the First Division have been achieved in 110 games, for a goals-per-game ratio of 2.7, which is well outpacing the Premier’s 296 in 130 for a ratio of 2.3. Combined, the divisions have 593 goals in 240 games for a ratio of 2.5.
Dundalk remain the biggest scorers in the top flight, with 47 goals [they also have the best goal difference in the division, at +34]. In the First Division Drogheda are the top scorers [on 46] while Shelbourne have the best goal difference [+21].
Given the hectic schedule that European involvement brings with it, we can forgive the Premier boys for not finding the net more this weekend. Shamrock Rovers were involved in a seven goal thriller in the league recently, against UCD, and they scored all seven! Given that they are progressing nicely in Europe, let’s remember too that their 7-0 aggregate win over Fram Reykjavik in 1982 remains a record win for a League of Ireland club in European competition.