Dundalk march on
League leaders Dundalk continued their relentless progress in both domestic and European competitions with a 3-1 win over Derry City at Oriel Park.
The Lilywhites overcame the loss of an early goal to eventually collect three points that maintained their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table, and put to bed a pre-match suggestion from Derry manager Kenny Shiels that Stephen Kenny’s men had looked tired in their midweek draw against Shamrock Rovers.
Derry took the lead in the sixth minute when Barry McNamee’s shot across the face of goal was parried by Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers into the path of an unmarked Lucas Schubert, who finished from close range.
But the lead lasted only seven minutes before John Mountney hammered home an equaliser after good work from left winger Daryl Horgan, and four minutes later Brian Gartland put Dundalk ahead with a powerful header, following up after Patrick McEleney had hit the crossbar.
On the hour David McMillan fired home his 15th goal of the season to put Dundalk 3-1 up, and the hosts saw the game out safely to send them into their Europa League tie against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday in positive mood.
The win leaves Dundalk seven points clear of second placed Cork City, who have a game in hand, while the defeat for Derry means Kenny Shiels' side drop down to fourth place.
Leesiders frustrated by Bit O’Red
Cork City’s hopes of keeping in touch with Dundalk at the top were frustrated by Sligo Rovers, who held them to a goalless draw at the Showgrounds in a lively encounter on Saturday night.
It was the sixth game in a row that City have kept a clean sheet, although that record was under threat several times by a determined Sligo side, most notably in the 7th minute when Sligo's centre-half Gavin Peers sent in a header that beat City keeper Mark McNulty, only to see Karl Sheppard clear the ball off the goal line.
Six minutes from time City did have the ball in the net when substitute Dave Mulcahy tapped into an empty net, but celebrations were soon dashed as he was adjudged offside.
Rovers keep up Euro quest
Shamrock Rovers sit third in the Premier Division, one point clear of Derry City, after a 4-2 win over Galway United in an entertaining game at Tallaght Stadium.
The Hoops twice took a first-half lead thanks to teenage striker Sean Boyd and a Sam Ramsbottom own goal, but were pegged back on both occasions by goals from Galway captain Ryan Connolly.
However, two goals in the space of four minutes just after the hour from Sean Heaney and Gary McCabe secured a victory that keeps alive their hopes of clinching a European place at the end of what has been a turbulent season.
No win for Chin
The appearance of Wexford GAA star Lee Chin in their ranks failed deliver a much needed win for Wexford Youths, who fell to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Bray Wanderers.
Chin, who previously played League of Ireland soccer with Waterford United, has switched from hurling to join Youths relegation battle for the rest of the season, but his debut in central defence failed to help his new club avoid defeat.
He did almost make his mark on the game straight away, when Bray goalkeeper Peter Cherrie failed to deal with the cross into the box and the ball fell to Chin who had his effort cleared away by Bray’s Hugh Douglas.
But Bray took the lead after 20 minutes when Mark Salmon finished from close range, and after the break Ger Pender intercepted a backpass to add a second for the visitors, before Kevin Doyle wrapped up the points with a third goal 17 minutes from the end.
Wexford grabbed a late consolation goal through Shane Dempsey but the defeat leaves them in the relegation play off spot.
Buckley calls for season extension
St Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley called for the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season to be extended, after his side’s scheduled game against Finn Harps in Ballybofey was called off 40 minutes before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch.
With Saints being one of several sides with a fixture backlog, Buckley suggested that the scheduled October 28 conclusion date should be revised.
FAI competitions director Fran Gavin admitted to reporters that the mounting fixture pile-up was being looked at.
"It's a difficult thing to do and you are not going to please everybody," Gavin said. "We want to make sure that it's a level playing field when it comes to the business end of the season.
"And also to see how we can assist Dundalk to do as well as they can and being as prepared as well as they can be for their games in Europe. It's a huge thing for us to try to do that.
"So it's trying to get the balance right and that's a difficult thing to do. It's so far, so good. At the moment, the Friday (28th October) is what we are aiming for”.
Premier Division - Bohemians 1 Longford Town 0, Dundalk 3 Derry City 1, Shamrock Rovers 4 Galway United 2, Sligo Rovers 0 Cork City 0, Wexford Youths 1 Bray Wanderers 3.
Division One - Athlone Town 1 UCD 1, Cabinteely 1 Drogheda United 0, Cobh Ramblers 3 Waterford United 1, Shelbourne 1 Limerick 1.