Dundalk are the champions
Dundalk regained the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title with a 1-1 draw against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Friday evening.
It’s the first time that the Lilywhites have clinched back-to-back titles in their history, and although they began the evening knowing that a win would be required to guarantee the title, Cork City’s 1-1 draw at Drogheda United meant that a draw for Dundalk was enough.
The game was no classic, and for a while it looked like the champagne would be on ice for another week, as Rovers took the lead a minute into the second half when Brandon Miele’s shot was deflected by Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers into the path of Danny North, who finished from close range.
But with just six minutes remaining Rovers’ Patrick Cregg was adjudged to have fouled Darren Meenan just inside the penalty area, and referee Padraig Sutton pointed straight away to the spot.
Dundalk’s leading scorer Richie Towell made a great job of the resultant penalty, and the players celebrated in front of the large travelling Dundalk support who had travelled to Dublin for the game.
At the full time whistle, Dundalk players and supporters had an agonising wait until the result at Drogheda was confirmed, but before long the celebrations could begin.
Dundlak now have the chance to complete a league and cup double when they face Cork City in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup final on November 8.
Cork City’s title hopes extinguished
Having kept on Dundalk’s coat tails all season, Cork City’s hopes of capturing the title were finally snuffed out by a 1-1 draw at United Park against Drogheda United.
Over the course of the game, the Leesiders enjoyed plenty of possession but were unable to break down a stubborn home side who desperately needed points themselves to keep them out of relegation trouble.
Drogheda took the lead on nine minutes after a mix-up between Dan Murray and goalkeeper Mark McNulty allowed Keith Treacy to intercept an under hit back pass and roll the ball into the empty net.
But within three minutes, Karl Sheppard headed home from Gavan Holohan’s cross to pull Cork level, and although Cork boss John Caulfield threw on extra fire power when news of Dundalk losing in Tallaght filtered through, they failed to make the breakthrough and keep the title race alive.
Bohs European hopes still alive
Bohemians kept up their slim European hopes by narrowing the gap on St Patrick’s Athletic to five points with a 2-0 win over their Dublin rivals at Dalymount Park.
Having absorbed early Pats pressure, Bohemians went ahead against the run of play on 14 minutes, when Anto Murphy finished off an Eoin Wearen right wing cross from close range.
Saints’ hopes of getting back in the game were dashed when Jason Guinness was shown a second yellow card early in the second half, and just after the hour Bohs doubled their lead when Karl Moore cracked a shot off the underside of the crossbar which bounced down on the line, but was flagged as being a goal by assistant referee Michelle O’Neill.
The win keeps Bohemians in contention for the final Europa League place at the expense of Pats, who have now lost six consecutive league games.
Limerick’s revival continues in the relegation dog fight
Limerick’s remarkable recent revival continued with a priceless 3-1 win at Galway United in a vital relegation clash.
Bottom of the table for most of the season, Limerick’s recent run of results has moved them back in touch with the sides above, and a tense few weeks now awaits the bottom seven clubs who are now separated by just six points.
Vinny Faherty gave Limerick a half time lead, and although Sam Oji equalised on the hour for Galway, goals from Ian Turner and a second from Faherty late on sealed victory for Martin Russell’s side.
They now sit just one point behind Sligo Rovers, who salvaged a point at Longford Town thanks to a last minute Anthony Elding equaliser, and although Derry City’s 3-1 win over Bray Wanderers eased their relegation worries, they are none the less only five points clear of Sligo in the relegation play-off spot.
UCD and Harps face a play off
With Wexford Youths confirmed as First Division champions, and Finn Harps guaranteed the runners-up spot, UCD will now face Finn Harps in the two legged First Division play-off following the students’ 1-0 win over Cabinteely.
Jamie Doyle’s goal at the UCD Bowl guaranteed Collie O'Neill's side third place ahead of Shelbourne, and the games against Harps will be played once next week's final game of the regular season is played.