They didn’t have to kick a ball but it was a momentous weekend for Shamrock Rovers who were crowned champions of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division. Their closest challengers Bohemian FC were beaten 2-0 by Finn Harps in Dalymount Park where Mark Russell got both of their goals. Both sides finished the game with ten men. Anto Breslin was sent off in the first half for Bohs and Leo Donnellan late on in the second half for Harps.
So Shamrock deservedly win the league and with it their 18th title and their first since 2011. Great reward for the board’s patience in sticking with their manager Stephen Bradley who followed up his FAI Cup win last season in spectacular fashion. The Harps win also had consequences for Cork City – they were beaten 2-1 by Sligo Rovers in the Showgrounds.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and Ronan Coughlan scored for Rovers with Dylan McGlade getting one in-between for Cork. Those two results mean that Cork are relegated only three years after winning the double. The club could be under new ownership in the First Division. Members of their supporters’ trust – FORAS – will meet to vote during the week on whether or not to sell the club to Grovemore Limited.
Grovemore are headed up by Trevor Hemmings who also owns Preston North End. Preston, of course, have regularly signed players from the Munster club over the past few years. Waterford are up to fourth after they beat Dundalk 1-0 in the Regional Sports Centre, John Martin with the game’s only goal. There is now only one point between the sides.
In the division’s remaining game Derry City beat Shelbourne 2-0 in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, Joe Thomson and Walter Figueira with the goals. The race for the First Division title and with it automatic promotion to the Premier will go down to the last game of the season. Drogheda United lead the way on 36 points with Bray Wanderers a point back.
Goals from Derek Prendergast and Mark Doyle saw Drogheda beat Wexford FC 2-0 in United Park. Bray were beaten 1-0 by Galway United in the Carlisle Grounds as Carlton Ubaezuonu scored in the 93rd minute. That win means Galway now have a chance of reaching the play-offs.
So it will be all eyes on Stradbrook next Friday evening as Drogheda are away to Cabinteely. Cabo will need a result to make sure they make the playoffs. Bray Wanderers are also away as they travel to the Athlone Town Stadium to take on Athlone Town.