David McMillan’s double puts Dundalk six points clear as Cork held in Athlone
Two goals from the bench help overturn deficit against Bohs at Oriel Park
Athlone Town’s James O’Brien celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Cork City at Athlone Town Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Dundalk 3 Bohemians 2
David McMillan’s 15th goal of the season could prove to be his most precious ever as Dundalk overturned a 2-1 deficit to beat Bohemians and take a huge step towards the SSE Airtricity Premier League title.
The result, coupled with Cork City’s 2-2 draw against bottom of the table Athlone Town, means that Stephen Kenny’s side are now six points clear at the top of the table with seven games to play.
News was just filtering through that Cork City had taken the lead in Lissywoollen when Dundalk pulled in front themselves after 22 minutes.
The goal was simple in its execution. Darren Meenan’s corner from the right was headed across goal by Patrick Hoban and captain Andy Boyle was on hand to power home at the back post.
The Oriel Park faithful were silenced just seven minutes later as Bohs equalised in stunning fashion. Karl Moore cut in from the right, on to his left foot, and let fly with a fabulous effort that left Peter Cherrie with no chance. This was Moore’s second goal in as many league games.
The game continued to ebb and flow at a good tempo and Dundalk thought they had pulled ahead again in the 33rd minute. Meenan delivered yet another vicious corner into a crowded six-yard box but Dean Delaney somehow managed to keep Brian Gartland’s header out from close range.
Proof that Bohs hadn’t read the script was highlighted when they took the lead three minutes before half-time. Again, it was a strike that left Cherrie with no chance. Dinny Corcoran was allowed time to shoot from 20-yards and he punished Dundalk with a stunning strike into the roof of the net.
Kenny responded by introducing McMillan in place of Kurtis Byrne at the interval and the substitute almost made an instant impression, flashing in a cross from the left which Hoban glanced agonisingly wide of the post.
The home crowd sensed an equaliser and it arrived in the 54th minute. Daryl Horgan’s cross from the left found McMillan and he somehow managed to guide a stunning header inside Delaney’s far post
The drama continued to unfold and the tension increased as news that Cork City had taken the lead came through.
That anxiety evaporated five minutes later, though, in what could go down as the pivotal moment in the title race.
James O’Brien’s equaliser for Athlone Town had just found the net in the midlands when Delany parried a cross from the right into the path of McMillan and the striker pounced to fire home a priceless volley from 15-yards.
Athlone Town 2 Cork City 2
A point wasn’t the result that either Athlone Town or Cork City wanted from this clash at Athlone Town stadium, but ultimately neither team could claim to be short-changed by a share of the spoils.
Twice Cork City had the lead, once in each half, but on each occasion they sat back an invited Athlone onto them following their scores and they ultimately paid the price, all the more so as Dundalk came from behind to beat Bohemians and stretch the gap at the top of the Premier Division table.
Darren Dennehy opened the scoring for Cork when he volleyed the ball to the net from eight yards out in the 19th minute, but they paid the price for their lack of possession when John Mulroy swept the ball over the line from Kevin Knight’s low cross shortly before half time.
The introduction of Danny Morrissey and particularly Liam Kearney added some zip to Cork’s play when they came in on the hour mark and Kearney had a hand in Mark O’Sullivan’s tap-in goal, even though an error judgement from Ryan Coulter was the key factor. A fast break out of defence led to Garry Buckley driving a shot at Coulter, who parried the ball into the air and then lost his bearings, allowing O’Sullivan to head it home unchallenged.
Cork’s lead was short lived however as James O’Brien drew the sides level with 15 minutes to play, finding the corner of the net from the edge of the area just twenty seconds after his introduction.
Shamrock Rovers 1 Sligo Rovers 0
A first league goal of the season from right back Simon Madden maintained Shamrock Rovers’ revival under Pat Fenlon at Tallaght Stadium.
Fenlon’s reshaped side are now unbeaten in four games since he took charge and this was arguably their best performance since he took charge.
The goal came just after the half-hour mark when Sligo central defender Kalen Spillane came for but missed heading Madden’s ball down the channel away to put Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters in behind him.
The winger then cut in and let rip with a stinging left-foot shot that Gary Rogers will be disappointed he failed to hold. Madden followed up diligently to rifle the loose ball to the net.
St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Derry City 1
Saints’ winger Aaron Greene brought Derry City crashing back to earth following last Monday night’s impressive 4-0 victory in Limerick.
Derry midfielder Philip Lowry lost possession to the former Republic of Ireland international Keith Fahey and he sent Greene scampering clear on the left in the 47th minute to hammer the ball high into the Derry net.
Pat’s took full advantage when defending that slender lead to keep their hopes of European football next season alive.
Limerick 0 Drogheda 3
Three goals inside the last 30 minutes gave Drogheda United a deserved win over a disappointing Limerick at Thomond Park.
There was a touch of good fortune about the opening Drogheda goal after 61 minutes when Michael Daly’s shot took a deflection and gave Barry Ryan no chance in the Limerick goal.
Cathal Brady, who shone for the visitors, created goal number two for Gavan Holohan who scored from close range and the points were wrapped up six minutes from the end when Brady was rewarded for his overall performance when he scored the third after 84 minutes.
Bray Wanderers 2 UCD 0
Bray Wanderers recorded only their first win in 14 league games to see off fellow relegation strugglers UCD with a deserved win in a tense struggle at the Carlisle Grounds.
Goals in either half from Ismahil Akinade and substitute Jake Kelly were enough to move the Seagulls up to 10th place in the Premier Division table – three points ahead of the Students