Drogheda United after the misery of the playoffs last year are the First Division champions with and Bray, Cabinteely, UCD and Longford are in the playoffs following a dramatic night in the SSE Airtricity League Division One.
Before tonight’s proceedings, seven teams were in the race either for the First Division title or the Playoff Spots respectively. On a dramatic night here for Irish football and the final race towards the Premier Division here is how it went down.
Athlone Town vs. Bray Wanderers
Cabinteely vs. Drogheda United
Cobh Ramblers vs. Shamrock Rovers II
Galway United vs. UCD AFC
Wexford vs. Longford Town
One engaging factor going into the matches was that all the fixtures were being streamed online for free by the respective clubs for maximum exposure on an epic night.
7:45 pm – Kick off
All games kick-off and we are underway for the most dramatic endings of a First Division season. Going into the games Drogheda held top spot just a point ahead of Bray Wanderers.
UCD, Longford and Cabinteely held the other three playoff spots with Galway United and Cobh having an outside chance of making the playoffs if results went their way.
If Galway beat UCD and Drogheda defeat Cabinteely, John Caulfield will be taking United into the play-offs.
Seventh-placed Cobh Ramblers need results to go their way tonight and you can’t rule out a 2020 moment to happen tonight.
Longford will need a result on their travels to Wexford to ensure of a top-five finish tonight.
UCD are probably the safest of the sides of a place in the playoffs night given their goal difference.
Drogheda will win the title if they can prevail at Cabinteely.
If Drogheda were to slip up at the tricky fixture then Bray Wanderers are ready to grab that top spot.
7:46 pm – Trophy watch!
The First Division Trophy has left FAI HQ, Abbotstown according to reports
Will it make its way to Athlone or Stradbrook tonight?
8:00pm – Update
No goals as of yet. Going by reports it seems Drogheda had an early chance to get off to the perfect start but not much else happening. A quiet night so far in LOI.ie HQ.
Down in Athlone, the home side had a massive chance for against Bray. Taner Dogan found himself on the penalty spot with a free shot on goal but the Bray keeper got down well to make the save.
8:01 PM GOAL IN WEXFORD!
First blood comes at Wexford as Longford take the lead! Dylan Grimes has scored and with that Longford currently sit in third position and UCD slip down to fourth. That could be a priceless goal for the Midlanders in their quest for promotion via the playoff.
8:19 pm RED CARD IN STRADBROOK.
A big moment at Cabinteely as they are now down to ten men.
As things stand, Drogheda is in pole position for going up.
Two yellow cards for Jonathan Carlin sees the home side a man down
Will this have a big impact at the end of the night?
8:28 pm GOAL IN GALWAY
A big goal out west as Stephen Christopher slams the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.
As things stand Galway are now in the playoffs.
Amazing when you think the position they were in when John Caulfield took over.
8:29 pm GOAL IN ATHLONE
Bray Wanderers score thanks to Ryan Graydon and with that they move to top spot and en route to the Premier Division and send Drogheda to second place and the playoffs.
Half Time Scores:
Athlone Town 0-1 Bray Wanderers
Cabinteely 0-0 Drogheda United
Cobh Ramblers 0-0 Shamrock Rovers II
Galway United 1-0 UCD AFC
Wexford 0-1 Longford Town
As it stands:
Bray are Champions
Drogheda drop to the playoffs and are in second place
Galway jump to the playoff and Cabinteely will spend another season in the First Division.
8:45 pm – We are back underway
This will be a massive forty-five minutes and a lot more to play for. Let us hope for some more (a little bit more) action in the second half of all the games as we are back underway across the country.
8:48 pm – Trophy watch Update!
The First Division Trophy is currently en route to the midlands.
Will the poor driver have to do a U-Turn and head to Stradbrook at some stage? Only time will tell.
9:01 pm GOAL IN WEXFORD
An equaliser in Wexford and some nervous looks amongst the Longford fans as Karl Fitzsimons rose highest to head home a corner from close range to put the game level in Ferrycarrig. Longford is in third in the playoffs and it looks secure for now.
9:04 pm GOAL IN STRADBROOK
Drogheda has scored!!
James Brown has scored a massive goal for the Louth club and with that, they now overtake Bray and are top of the First Division.
Time for the car with the trophy to turn around!!
9:09 pm GOAL IN STRADBROOK
And this could be it for the First Division
Drogheda United add a second and with that are in pole position for the First Division title.
Luke Heeney scored and it looks as if Tim Clancy’s men are heading back to the Premier Division.
9:13 pm GOAL IN WEXFORD
Wexford takes the lead in Ferrycarrig and Longford slip down to fifth in the league table. The Midlanders are under pressure now. A free-kick was sent in and was tapped in at the near post by Jack Doherty. The former Longford player coming back to haunt his former club.
If Cobh scores two goals against Shamrock Rovers II then they would hop into that fifth-place spot.
Galway now sits in the fourth position.
9:25 PM GOAL IN GALWAY
Well now UCD has equalised with nine minutes to go Evan Weir has put the students level.
This means Galway are OUT of the playoff spots and Cabinteely are back in.
That goal means Longford can breathe easy…for now.
Incidentally a goal for Cobh right now ….
9:33 PM GOAL IN GALWAY
A late goal in Galway and that’s it for United. Eric Weir gets his second and with that Galway have another year in the First Division.
Cabinteely may send UCD a fruit basket as a thank you!
9:35 PM Penalty save
In Stadbrook David Odumosu of Drogheda United saves a penalty to cap off a great night for the Louth club.
9:36 PM Full Time in Athlone
Not much that Bray can do now
9:37 pm GOAL IN GALWAY
United pull one back…maybe I spoke too soon will there be late drama in Terryland?
Turns out it was the last kick of the game.
Galway sits in sixth place…one point outside the playoffs
9:38 pm Full Time in Cobh
Cobh Ramblers 0 – 0 Shamrock Rovers II at one stage a goal for Cobh could have seen the sneak into the playoffs. It wasn’t to be.
9:39 pm Full time in Wexford.
Longford are in the playoffs and Wexford get an end of season win
9:41 pm Full time in Stradbrook
It’s all over in Stradbrook and Drogheda United are the First Division Champions!
Tim Clancy and his players can lift that trophy tonight…when it gets there!
What a night in the First Division!
Drogheda United are champions
In the Play-offs are Bray Wanderers, Longford Town, UCD and Cabinteely
A massive effort and kudos to Galway United and Cobh Ramblers who just missed out
By Ciarán Callan