It was a pivotal week in terms of the Premier Division title race with Dundalk now very much in control. They started off the week with a three-point gap over reigning champions Cork City and a game hand. That was played last Tuesday night as they welcomed Shamrock Rovers to Oriel Park. And in something of a surprise they were beaten 2-1. Roberto Lopes gave the visitors the lead after 2 minutes with Michael Duffy levelling in the 54th. Dylan Watts scored the winner for Shams through a 93rd-minute penalty.
On Friday night Dundalk were away to Limerick and Cork were home to Sligo Rovers, two sides looking to stay in the division. Cork hadn’t been beaten in a calendar year in Turner’s Cross with the last side to have beaten them been Rovers back in August 2017. Lightning as so often happens struck twice. Cork led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal from Karl Sheppard but second-half goals from first David Cawley and then the evergreen Raffaele Cretaro saw Rovers get the points as they won 2-1.
Dundalk left it late but beat Limerick 1-0 thanks to an 82nd-minute goal from Duffy and now have a six points lead with six games to go. They look on course for their fourth league title in five years. Rovers as well are now all but assured of their Premier Division status as they opened up an 11 point gap over Limerick. Big week for Duffy as he has been asked by Martin O’Neill to change his international affiliation from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland and is in the process of doing so.
Shamrock Rovers tightened their grip on 4th and closed the gap on Waterford in the process as they beat bottom side Bray Wanderers 3-0 in the Carlisle Grounds. Watts, Ronan Finn and Brandon Miele scored their goals. Waterford were beaten 3-0 by St. Patrick’s Athletic in Richmond Park. Mick Leahy scored two of the goals with Achille Campion getting the other. Bohemian FC leapfrogged Derry City into 5th place thanks to their 2-0 victory over the men from the North West in the Brandywell. Dinny Corcoran and Daniel Kelly with the goals.
With UCD all but assured of the title and with it automatic promotion in the First Division, the race is on to see who will make the playoffs. Finn Harps confirmed that they will be one of the sides thanks to their 2-0 win over Galway United in Finn Park. Mikey Place and Mark Timlin scored the goals. Shelbourne look set to join them despite being held to a 2-2 draw in Tolka Park by table preppers Athlone Town. David O’Sullivan and James English scored for Shelbourne with Ian Fletcher and Ollie Hamzat on the mark for Athlone.
Drogheda United were beaten 3-0 at home by the league leaders with Conor David hitting a hat-trick for the students. That defeat allowed Longford Town the opportunity to leapfrog them into 4th place and they duly obliged by beating Cabinteely 4-1 in City Calling Stadium. Dylan McGlade notched a hat-trick with Karl Chambers scoring the opener. Keith Dalton scored for Cabinteely. The division’s remaining fixture saw Cobh Ramblers beat Wexford FC 2-1 in Ferrycarrig thanks to goals from David Hurley and Chris Hull. Adham Masood scored for Wexford.
The draw was made earlier this week for the quarterfinals of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup and is as follows:
UCD vs. Waterford,
Bohemian FC vs. Derry City,
Longford Town vs. Cork City; &
Limerick FC vs. Dundalk.
Those games are to be played this weekend apart from the Bohemian vs. Derry game as Bohs will in action in the second round of the Irn Bru Cup, they are away to Peterhead.