Dundalk three points clear at mid season break

Dundalk three points clear at mid season break

A controversial winner for league leaders Dundalk, a narrow victory for second placed Cork City and a first league defeat of the season for Shamrock Rovers were among the talking points at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division at the weekend.

Dundalk will take a three-point lead at the top of the table into the mid-season break, but were made to work hard for a 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

For the home side, the main topic for discussion was the absence of under pressure manager Owen Heary in the dugout, and while Gavin Dykes and Joseph Ndo took charge of the team, there has been no statement from the club as to who will be in charge after the break.

Sligo began well under their new leadership and hit the front after nine minutes with a long range effort from Norwegian Morten Nielsen, but the lead only lasted 25 minutes, when Daryl Horgan’s left wing cross was turned into his own net by Danny Ledwith.

The winner arrived via the penalty spot in controversial circumstances 11 minutes into the second half, when Rovers’ Alan Keane was penalised for handball in the box, and the league's leading scorer Richie Towell stepped up to fire home his 16th goal of the season.

Cork City kept up the pressure on Dundalk with a 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers at Turners Cross, although they had to rely on goalkeeper Mark McNulty to make some excellent saves, including a penalty, to keep a clean sheet.

The only goal of the game arrived on 29 minutes, when Karl Sheppard’s fierce drive was well saved by Bray keeper McGuinness, but when the ball ran free Mark O’Sullivan rifled home from close range.

Just on half time, City's Colin Healy was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Hugh Douglas, with Bray's Adam Mitchell also seeing red for his part in a melee sparked by Healy's tackle.

With 15 minutes remaining McNulty was the hero for the Leesiders when he made a fine save from a well struck David Cassidy penalty to preserve his side's lead.

The two Premier Division games in Dublin both had attendances swelled by visiting Scotland supporters, who were in town for the international match at the Aviva Stadium the following day.

Those who made their way over to Dalymount Park witnessed a frantic Dublin derby that ended with Bohemians scoring three times in the last 13 minutes to beat Shamrock Rovers 3-1.

It had all started well for Rovers, with Kieran Marty Walters heading in a Stephen McPhail free-kick in the ninth minute to give them a lead they held until the 77th minute, when Derek Prendergast's powerful header from Lorcan Fitzgerald's free kick pulled Bohs back on level terms.

Another fine Fitzgerald delivery produced a second goal for Bohs six minutes from time, when substitute Dean Kelly sent a looping header into the net.  Kelly - who missed his sister's wedding meal and speeches to report for Bohs duty - rounded off a day to remember in stoppage time, when he tapped home a third goal after fine work down the left from Ismahil Akinade.

The win ended Shamrock Rovers unbeaten league record and moved Bohs to just three points behind Rovers, sharing joint fourth place with St Patrick's Athletic, who beat Limerick 3-1 at Richmond Park.

Saints' offer of free entry to anyone wearing kilt attracted a number of suitably attired Scotland supporters to Inchicore, although it was bottom of the table Limerick who went into half-time with the lead thanks to a Dean Clarke strike.

But Liam Buckley's side turned it around in the second half with goals from Chris Forrester, Aaron Greene, and Christy Fagan ensuring that Saints will head into the break on the back of four straight league wins.

In the mid-table clash at the City Calling Stadium, an excellent goal on the hour from Jake Keegan earned Galway United a hard fought 1-0 win over Longford Town.

Derry City have now gone nine league games without a win, after having to settle a point from a 1-1 draw at Drogheda United.

Derry were the better side in the opening 45 minutes and took a deserved lead five minutes from half time thanks to a spectacular 30 yard free kick from Mark Timlin, but 11 minutes into the second half the assistant referee ruled that Adam Whelan’s glancing header from Joe Gorman’s cross which hit the bar and bounced down towards goal had crossed the line, and the goalensured a share of the points for the home side.

In the First Division, league leaders Finn Harps lost for the second week in a row, their lead at the top now narrowed to one point after falling to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Wexford Youths.

Danny Furlong put Youths ahead with a free kick on 23 minutes, winger Andy Mulligan added two more, with Harps' consolation coming from veteran Kevin McHugh who gave them some hope with a terrific strike just after the hour.

Wexford's win meant they leapfrogged over UCD into second place, with students being held to a 0-0 draw at Waterford United.

Cabinteely won their first game since March 27 as they beat Athlone Town 2-0 at Stradbrook, goals from Shane O’Neill and Sodiq Oguntola seeing them through to just their third win of the season.

Philly Hughes rescued a point for Shelbourne with a header just after the hour earning them a 1-1 draw at home to Cobh Ramblers at Tolka Park.


Premier Division - Bohemians 3 Shamrock Rovers 1; Cork City 1 Bray Wanderers 0; Drogheda United 1 Derry City 1; Longford Town 0 Galway United 1; Sligo Rovers 1 Dundalk 2; St Patrick's Athletic 3 Limerick 1.

First Division - Cabinteely 2 Athlone Town 0; Finn Harps 1 Wexford Youths 3; Shelbourne 1 Cobh Ramblers 1; Waterford United 0 UCD 0.