And we are back up and running as the new season of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division got underway on Friday evening. Already there are plenty of talking points. None more so than from the game between defending champions Dundalk and Sligo Rovers in Oriel Park. The game finished 1-1 with Dundalk left rueing the chances they missed. Jack Keaney scored a free kick to give Rovers the lead with former Watford man Sean Murray levelling matters as he scored for Dundalk. Patrick Hoban missed a penalty for the hosts in the first half.
It was saved by Rovers keeper Ed McGinty who ended up being named man of the match. He had given away the penalty as he clipped Robbie Benson inside the box. Benson had a fractured fibula and may now face surgery and a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Patrick McEleney also came off injured for Dundalk and could be out for a couple of weeks as he awaits a scan.
Manager watch proved fascinating too. Vinny Perth was marshalling the sideline but the man who is the manager on paper, John Gill, was also shouting instructions and did the post-match media interviews. This will be an interesting situation to watch develop.
The day before the game, Rovers had announced that they wouldn’t be proceeding with the signing of Nigerian striker Brendan Ogbu which they had announced a week or so ago. He is still registered with a club in Iraq. The club did act fast though, bringing in former Cork and Bray Wanderers striker, Ronan Coughlan. Indeed he came on in the last ten minutes of the game.
St. Patrick’s Athletic look like they will be dark horses in the race for the title as they beat last season’s runners-up Cork City 1-0 in Richmond Park. Mikey Drennan with the game’s only goal which came from the penalty spot. Bohemian FC were also 1-0 winners in their game against newly promoted Finn Harps. Dinny Corcoran getting the winner in Dalymount Park.
A 93rd minute winner from Ethan Boyle saw Shamrock Rovers come from behind to beat Waterford FC 2-1 in the Regional Sports Centre. Kevin Lynch had given the home side the lead with Aaron Green drawing the sides level before Lynch got the late winner. Derry City manager, Declan Devine got his second spell in charge of the club off to a winning start as they beat UCD 3-0 in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. David Parkhouse, Josh Collins and Eoghan Stokes with the goals. The First Division campaign starts this weekend.