There were three Premier Division games played across Monday and Tuesday with all of them having an impact on the top and the bottom of the table. Leaders Dundalk handed Derry City their first defeat in the newly redeveloped Brandywell as they beat them 4-1. Derry had actually opened the scoring when Darren Cole gave them the lead after 12 minutes. Dundalk though responded through goals from first Brain Gartland and then Robbie Benson to lead 2-1 at half time. They then extended their lead further thanks to second half goals from Michael Duffy and Krisztian Adorjan.
Bray Wanderers denied third place side Waterford FC the chance to make up ground on Dundalk and Cork City as they played out a 2-2 draw in the Carlisle Grounds. The sides traded the lead in the game. Bray hitting the front first thanks to a goal after three minutes from Daniel McKenna. Waterford hit back and looked on course for the three points as goals from Gavan Holohan and Courtney Duffus had them up 2-1. Bray snatched a point in stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty in the 91st minute which was duly converted by Gary McCabe. Sligo Rovers have now lost three league games in a row and remain third from bottom as they went down 2-0 against St. Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park. Both goals came in the second half with Dean Clarke and Thomas Byrne the scorers for the home side.
Staying with Rovers I have to give a special mention here to my friend Richard Brush who called time on his footballing career over the weekend. He had most recently been playing with Ballinamallard United in the NIFL but has taken up employment as a social care worker in Sligo and as such won’t have the time to commit to travelling anymore. It was with Sligo Rovers that he spent the bulk of his career having three spells with the club. He joined in 2006 after spells with Coventry City, Tamworth and Shrewsbury. While he was with Shrewsbury he was a team mate of a certain Joe Hart who like Brush went on to win two league titles albeit in different countries! Brush or Brushie as is more affectionately known became a quick fan favourite in Sligo and settled in the area and has lived there since. The end of his first spell at the club was blighted by a wrist injury and met that he was a frustrated spectator as the club won both the EA Sports Cup and the FAI Cup although he was on the bench for the Cup final in the Aviva. After a few months out Brushie returned to football when he signed with Shamrock Rovers in July 2011 as back-up for Alan Mannus. He couldn’t have picked a better time as Shamrock won the league and also qualified for the group stages of the Europa League, the first time an Irish side had done so. Brush played his part in that campaign and played in the game against Tottenham Hotspur in White Hart Lane.
He returned to Sligo at the start of the 2012 season but had to settle for a place on the bench but did get another league winner’s medal as the Bit O’Red won their first title in 35 years. Brush then returned to Shamrock Rovers for 2013 where he was in and out of the first team and picked up EA Sports Cup and Setanta Sports Cup winners medals. He returned then for his third and final spell in the Showgrounds in 2014 and stayed for 2015 where he was back as the first choice keeper. In 2016 he signed for Finn Harps who had just been promoted back to the Premier Division and soon became first choice there. He left Harps to sign for Ballinamallard in 2017 and stayed the Fermanagh club until his retirement last week. A popular and well liked figure for any club that he played for Brushie made his mark and was rewarded with a healthy trophy cabinet, a beautiful family and is now set for his new career. I would say it would be the end of his playing days though as I am sure that there will be a number of junior soccer clubs on his doorstep looking to see if he will play with them!