Dundalk bounce back
After a high profile couple of weeks with Champions League games occupying the headlines, Dundalk returned to league action and winning ways with a 1-0 victory away to Wexford Youths.
After playing in front of crowds of over 30,000 in both legs of their ties against Legia Warsaw, it must have been something of a culture shock to play at homely Ferrycarrig Park with 712 spectators in attendance, but the Lilywhites took it in their stride and bagged a win that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
The only goal of the game arrived six minutes before half time, when David McMillan picked up a loose ball near the half-way line, advanced forward and finished with a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
It was McMillan’s 18th goal of the season, and the win, Dundalk’s first in three league games, keeps them four points clear at the top of the table.
Comfortable win for Cork
Cork City remain doggedly on the coat tails of Dundalk at the top, after a comfortable 5-2 win over bottom club Longford Town at Turners Cross.
The visitors had former Cork manager Alan Mathews in charge, but there was no happy return to familiar surroundings as City had no problem in seeing off their relegation threatened opponents, after establishing a three goal lead in the opening 26 minutes through goals from Alan Bennett and two from Sean Maguire.
Karl Sheppard added two more in the second half to round off a good night for City, who now face a break from league action, with upcoming fixtures away to Dundalk and Finn Harps postponed due to City duo Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor being called up to the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad.
Hoops Euro push continues
Shamrock Rovers kept up their hopes of a European place with a 2-0 win over Finn Harps at Ballybofey.
After a goalless first half, Rovers’ Sean Boyd made his mark on the game after the break, giving his side lead nine minutes in, when good work from Brandon Miele set up the chance for Boyd to smash home his fourth goal in as many games.
Ten minutes from time, the points were secured for Rovers when Boyd turned provider, getting in behind the Harps’ defence to set up any chance for substitute Dean Clarke to finish from close range.
The win keeps Rovers seven points off Dundalk at the top of the table, having played a game more.
Derry’s Euro hopes take a blow
Derry City’s chase for a Europa League place received a setback when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.
Bray’s Dylan Connolly, a member of the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad, struck with a goal in each half to extend his side’s unbeaten SSE Airtricity Premier Division run to nine games.
Connolly outpaced the Derry defence to fire home the opener on 17 minutes, but Rory Patterson's 11th goal of the season just after the half hour levelled for the Candystripes.
Aaron McEneff then gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot ten minutes into the second half lead, but Connolly levelled for the Seagulls 20 minutes from time to deny Derry an important victory in the chase for Europa League qualification.
Limerick clinch the First Division title
Limerick will be playing Premier Division football next season after securing the First Division title with a 3-2 win at UCD.
The outcome has been a foregone conclusion for many weeks, with the Blues being well out in front right from the off, and only having lost two competitive games all season, and they only needed a point from the game to ensure the championship trophy headed back to Markets Field.
But in an entertaining encounter, two second half goals from Paul O’Conor helped the Blues to victory, and ensure a quick return to the top flight following their relegation last season.
Premier Division: Bray Wanderers 2 Derry City 2, Cork City 5 Longford Town 2, Finn Harps 0 Shamrock Rovers 2, Sligo Rovers 2 Galway United 1, St. Patrick's Athletic 0 Bohemians 1, Wexford Youths 0 Dundalk 1.
Division One: Athlone Town 4 Cabinteely 0, Cobh Ramblers 0 Shelbourne 0, UCD 2 Limerick 3, Waterford United 1 Drogheda United 3