It has been a busy few days of action in the SSE Airtricity League and even in these early days of the season, it looks very much like it will be a two-horse race between reigning champions Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers. Both won their respective fixtures at the weekend. Leaders Shamrock Rovers beat UCD 3-1 in the Tallaght Stadium thanks to goals from Aaron McEneff and Jack Byrne who scored two. A goal from Michael Duffy was enough to give Dundalk a 1-0 win against their fierce rivals Cork City in Oriel Park. Elsewhere there were wins for Waterford FC, Derry City and Bohemian FC against Finn Harps, Sligo Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic respectively.
In the First Division, Bray Wanderers bounced back from their shock defeat against Wexford FC last week by beating Cobh Ramblers 1-0 in the Carlisle Grounds. Joe Doyle with the game’s only goal. Longford Town who remain unbeaten in the league are up to second. They beat Shelbourne 2-0 in the City Calling Stadium. Peter Hopkins and Karl Chambers with their goals. Drogheda United beat Wexford, Cabinteely beat Galway and Limerick saw off Athlone. So it was a clean sweep for all the home teams in both the Premier and the First Divisions which had odds of 200/1!
Monday and Tuesday night saw action in the second round of the EA Sports Cup. The biggest casualties were Shamrock Rovers. They were knocked out by Bray Wanderers on penalties after the two sides had played out a goalless draw. Holders Dundalk are through as they beat St. Patrick’s Athletic 2-1 in Richmond Park. Georgie Kelly and Dean Jarvis with their goals. James Doona scored for the home side. Cork City also progressed as they had a comfortable 4-1 win against their county neighbours Cobh Ramblers. James Tilley, Liam Nash, Garry Comerford and Darragh Crowley were all on the mark for the Leesiders with Denzil Fernandes getting a consolation for the Ramblers.
In a reverse of the score from their league fixture, Finn Harps beat Sligo Rovers 2-1 after extra time in Finn Park. Mark Coyle and Stephen Doherty got their goals with Dante Leverock scoring for Rovers. It also finished 2-1 in the meeting of Bohemian FC and Cabinteely in Dalymount Park with Bohs the winners. Luke Clucas scored for Cabo with Bohs’ goals coming from Ryan Graydon and an own goal from Sam Byrne. Dean Walsh and Cory Galvin both scored for Waterford FC which saw them beat Galway United 2-1 in the Regional Sports Centre. Jeff McGowan scored for Galway.
Derry City who have had a strong record in this competition over the years beat Longford Town 3-0 in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Eoghan Stokes and Gerardo Bruno the scorers. UCD booked their place in the next round as they won 2-1 away against Shelbourne in Tolka Park. Derek Prendergast gave Shels the lead after two minutes but the Students got the win as Neil Farrugia brought them level before Timmy Molloy got the winner in the 90th minute.