SSE Airtricity League round-up

SSE Airtricity League round-up

DUNDALK extended their lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division to six points with a last gasp 2-1 win in the Louth derby at Drogheda United on Friday evening.

The reigning champions displayed a title-winning mentality in an entertaining game at United Park, where they had the upper hand on both territory and chances but had to rely on a deflected free-kick from John Mountney in the 90th minute to secure all three points.

Drogs keeper Micheal Schlingermann had kept the visitors at bay in the first half with saves from Darren Meenan and David McMillan, but the deadlock was broken with two goals in the space of five minutes as the hour-mark approached.

Dundalk went ahead on 55 minutes with a fine goal from Darren Meenan, who cut inside from the wing and fired a cracking shot low into the bottom corner of the net.

Within five minutes Drogheda were level, with Sean Brennan robbing Richie Towell of possession in midfield before sending Lee Duffy clean through on goal, and the striker rounded Gary Rogers to roll the ball into an empty net.

However, while the league leaders dominated the closing stages, they appeared to be unable to find a way past home keeper Schlingermann, who made fine stops from Ronan Finn, Sean Gannon and Dane Massey to keep the scores level.

But as the game entered the final minute, the Lilywhites struck in dramatic fashion, when a 25 yard free kick from substitute John Mountney took a deflection off the heel of Darren Meenan on its way into the back of the net to seal a very hard-fought victory.

Elsewhere, Bohemians' hopes of securing a European place received a setback after they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Longford Town.

The hosts were ahead inside the opening five minutes, when David O’Sullivan collected a through ball from Mark Salmon, and finished with a low shot to give his side the lead.

Bohs drew level on the hour when Ishmail Akinade set up an easy tap in for Keith Buckley, but substitute Ayman Ben Mohamed fired home the winner five minutes from time when he collected a deflected shot from Pat Sullivan and finished with a shot through the legs of the keeper, clinching a win that moves Longford into sixth place in the table.

Over in the North West, the Connacht derby finished all square with Sligo Rovers and Galway United sharing an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds.

Both goals arrived early in the game, with Ryan Connolly opening the scoring for Galway when he finished from close range after good work by Kevin Garcia on the left wing.

But the lead lasted only a few minutes before the Bit O'Red were level, Danny Ledwith’s cross being flicked on by Raffaele Cretaro into the path of Dinny Corcoran, who fired home his eighth league goal of the season.

Limerick are still searching for their first league win of the season, with a last-minute free-kick from David Scully earning Bray Wanderers a rather fortunate 1-0 victory at the Markets Field, while inflicting a seventh successive defeat on the Blues, which keeps them rooted to the bottom of the table.

However, the main story afterwards revolved around an apparent dispute between Bray players and the club's board, in the aftermath of manager Trevor Croly leaving on Thursday over issues reported to relate to player payments.

Following the game, a statement from Bray players issued through the PFAI claimed players wages had not been paid on time, and that the players themselves had arranged training and prepared for the Limerick game.

The statement concluded: "We feel that the trust between the players and the club officials is beyond repair.  We wish to publicly state that some players are now considering their employment options unless there are drastic changes."

But in a response published on the club's official website, Bray chairman Denis O'Connor said that he was "extremely disappointed" that the statement was issued without the PFAI having consulted the club beforehand.

He added: "The players have been invited to and have agreed to a “clear the air” meeting early this week and I am confident that we can address all issues successfully."

In Division One, Wexford Youths remain two points clear at the top after a comfortable 4-0 win over Waterford United in the South East derby at Ferrycarrig Park, with Danny Furlong on target twice to take his tally for the season to 15 goals.

Finn Harps are tucked in behind in second place thanks to a 1-0 home win over Cabinteely, their first league win in five games.  A cracking long-range effort from midfielder Michael Funston in the 37th  minute earned Harps the points.

Athlone Town's hopes of keeping up pressure on the promotion chasers were dealt a blow when they fell to a 4-1 home defeat to Cobh Ramblers.

It was the visitors' biggest win of the season and the victory was also their first away win in the league since October 2008.

Brendan Frahill, Stephen Kenny and Jason Abbott all scored before the midway point of the second half, and while Sam O'Connor pulled a goal back for Athlone on 73 minutes,  Kynan Rocks sealed a comprehensive win with a fourth goal eight minutes from time to extend Cobh's unbeaten run to five games.


Premier Division:  Drogheda United 1 Dundalk 2, Limerick 0 Bray Wanderers 1, Longford Town 2 Bohemians 1, Sligo Rovers 1 Galway United 1.

First Division: Athlone Town 1 Cobh Ramblers 4, Finn Harps 1 Cabinteely 0, Wexford Youths 4 Waterford United 0.