Shelbourne 1 Bohemians 1
On an emotional night at Tolka Park, Shane Farrell’s second half penalty rescued a point for 10-man Shelbourne in a tense Dublin Derby against Bohemians in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Just before kick-off, there was a minute’s silence for four recently-deceased members across both clubs — Gary Daly and Emmett “Emmo” Connolly from Shelbourne and Derek “Mono” Monaghan and Martin Poole of Bohemians. These northside rivals certainly honoured their memories with performances that were full of commitment and verve, though it was the visitors who broke the deadlock just five minutes into the action.
After Shels defender Aaron O’Driscoll was booked for upending Ali Coote just outside of the penalty area, full-back Tyreke Wilson clinically dispatched the subsequent free-kick to the bottom right-hand corner to make it a dream start to the action for Bohs.
By contrast, this was a hammer blow for the hosts who suffered a further setback when team captain Luke Byrne and O’Driscoll were simultaneously withdrawn through injury inside the first-quarter — the latter stretchered off following an accidental collision with team-mate Brendan Clarke.
Yet in addition to bringing a one-goal lead into the interval, Bohs also possessed a numerical advantage. At the end of a half that had begun with his brother Tyreke opening the scoring for his opponents, JR Wilson was issued with a straight red card for a hefty tackle on Gypsies attacker Declan McDaid.
Neil Doyle also handed out five yellows in a fiery opening period and another decision by the Dublin whistler on the resumption altered the course of the tie. A little under 10 minutes after the restart, Bohs centre-half Ciaran Kelly was adjudged to have fouled Jack Moylan inside the box.
There was huge pressure on the shoulders of Farrell, but he convincingly slotted the resulting spot-kick beyond Jon McCracken’s reach. Shels were rejuvenated as a result and McCracken had to be at his best once again to deny JJ Lunney from distance on the third-quarter mark.
Bohs eventually halted the home team’s momentum, however, and while they couldn’t muster a winner in a frantic finale, Keith Long’s side remain ahead of their city counterparts in the league standings.
Shelbourne: Clarke; O’Driscoll (Ledwidge, 16 mins), Byrne (Lunney, 16 mins), Griffin; Wilson, Farrell, Molloy, McManus, Kane (Dervin, 53 mins); Moylan (Carr, 83 mins), Smith.
Bohemians: McCracken; Wilson, Feely, Kelly, Burke (Murphy, 58 mins); O’Sullivan (McManus, 95 mins), Clarke; Twardek (Burt, 66 mins), Coote (Mullins, 83 mins), McDaid; Varian (Afolabi, 58 mins).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).
Drogheda United 1 Derry City 1
For the third time this season, Derry City went a goal ahead against Drogheda United only for Kevin Doherty’s team to earn a draw. This was another opportunity missed for Ruaidhri Higgins’ team to close the gap on the teams above them.
Drogheda — who have not scored in the first half in 19 of their 28 league games — again dug in to find something after the interval. This season they have beaten Dundalk twice, won and drawn against Shamrock Rovers and lost only one of four games against Derry.
Ruaidhri Higgins replaced 11-goal Jamie McGonigle with James Akintunde for the trip to Boyneside. Fit-again Michael Duffy also started as the forward line was rejigged following last week’s stalemate against Shamrock Rovers.
Akintunde had hit four goals in four games so his inclusion was surely warranted. In any case, he justified it further when he hit the lead goal shortly before half time. He collected Cameron Dummigan’s cross and turned Keith Cowan before finding the bottom corner.
Derry had dominated the opening 45 minutes in which new club captain Patrick McEleney and Will Patching went close. Neither ex-Dundalk men were welcomed with open arms in Drogheda. The latter was denied by a fine Colin McCabe save.
Drogheda were level not long after the restart. For the second week in succession, Dayle Rooney found the net in unforgettable fashion.
The attacking midfielder curled a stunning free kick, left-footed, into the top corner of Brian Maher’s net. The goalkeeper was at full stretch but well beaten regardless. The second half was well contested, a much more even, if frantic, affair than the first.
Ryan Graydon shot off-target when played in and Evan Weir’s dramatic goal line clearance denied Derry again. At the other end, Weir forced a save from Brian Maher. Rooney, who’s taste for the spectacular was unabated, smacked the loose ball off the crossbar from range.
The United rearguard action rather comfortably held off Derry’s advances to find a winner. They went close themselves late on but Dean Williams inadvertently blocked Darragh Markey’s shot-on-target.
Drogheda United: McCabe; Poynton, Quinn, Cowan, Weir; Deegan, Nugent; Grimes (Foley, 84), Markey, Rooney; Williams.
Derry City: Maher; Dummigan, Connolly, McJannet, Coll; Diallo, Patching, McEleney (Glass, 81); Graydon, Akintunde (McGonigle, 76), Duffy (Kavanagh, 76).
Referee: Damien MacGraith
UCD 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 2
Serge Atakayi scored another opportunistic winner as St Patrick’s Athletic had to work hard for a big three points at the UCD Bowl.
Tim Clancy’s side thus edge to within four points of third-placed Derry City in their quest for European football again next year. Defeat sees UCD drop two points adrift at the bottom of the table.
St Pat’s started brightly and were ahead on eight minutes.
Skipper Joe Redmond looped a header from a Chris Forrester corner against a post with Dutchman Thijs Timmermans there to nod home the rebound for his first goal for the club.
The guile of Tommy Lonergan carved a half chance out of nothing on 27 minutes as UCD played their way into the game; the 18-year-old hooking the ball over a defender to see his volley dip wide.
That signalled a spell of pressure from the home side with captain Sam Todd’s header bringing a fine reaction save from Danny Rogers.
That reawakened St Pat’s who were inches from extending their lead on 38 minutes, Harry Brockbank crashing a shot off the crossbar.
UCD finished the half strongly with the impressive Lonergan twice firing off target.
And while College began the second half promisingly, a defensive blunder gifted St Pat’s a decisive second goal on 51 minutes.
Brockbank’s long ball appeared to pose no threat. But poor communication saw Michael Gallagher’s back header bounce past advancing goalkeeper Kian Moore.
As he was in scoring against CSKA Sofia and Sligo Rovers recently, Atakayi was fully alert to the opportunity, racing through to tap home his third goal for the club.
UCD hit back eight minutes later, Dylan Duffy’s superb free kick finding the net past the wall and through a crowd area.
But it was St Pat’s who finished strongly, Atakayi bringing a fine save one-on-one from Moore.
The impressive Redmond then powered a header from a Billy King corner off a post before Moore saved well again from Barry Cotter at the death.
UCD: Moore; Dunne (Norris, 79), Gallagher, Todd, Osam; Caffrey, Higgins (Nolan, 60); Dignam (Ryan, 60), Brennan, Duffy; Lonergan.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Rogers; Brockbank, Redmond, Grivosti, Breslin; Lennon, Timmermans (O’Reilly, 72); Cotter, Forrester (King, 85), Atakayi; Coughlan (E. Doyle, 57).
Referee: Oliver Moran (Dublin).
Finn Harps 3 Sligo Rovers 2
Relegation-threatened Finn Harps notched up only their home win of the season as they outfoxed Sligo Rovers to move off the bottom of the table in a cracking northwest derby played in a cup-tie atmosphere at Finn Park.
For Sligo, this was another costly defeat and their hopes of European football next season are fading — they are now seven points adrift of fourth placed St Pat’s.and 11 adrift of third placed Derry City.
Twice Harps held a two-goal lead but twice Aidan Keena pulled goals back for Sligo, but ultimately the visitors came up short.
Harps lived a charmed life after just two minutes as Sligo winger Karl O’Sullivan had a shot partially saved and a follow up blocked — with appeals for handball inside the box waved away.
Drama then followed on the touchline after 12 minutes as Harps manager Ollie Horgan protested furiously after Ryan Connolly was booked and was sent off.
Ryan Rainey then headed wide as he met a Regan Donelan cross before Harps took the lead on 18 minutes with captain Barry McNamee letting fly with a cracking drive from 20 yards that gave Luke McNicholas little chance.
Harps doubled their advantage on 36 minutes when a Regan Donelon corner was headed in at the far post by Ryan Rainey.
Sligo got the lift they needed immediately after the break as Karl O’Sullivan sent Aidan Keena racing towards the Harps goal on a counter-attack and he deftly guided the ball past the advancing James McKeown.
Harps made it 3-1 on 68 minutes when Rainey went down in the box under pressure from Will Fitzgerald and Paddy Kirk and from the resulting penalty Ryan Connolly obliged from the spot.
Connolly’s joy, though, was short-lived, as he picked up a second yellow to get his marching orders just two minutes later.
Sligo once again pulled themselves back into the contest in the 81st minute with Kenna scoring a penalty after substitute Frank Livak was fouled by Gary Boylan.
Kailin Barlow had a late chance for the Bit o’ Red but McKeown was on hand to save as Harps held on.
Finn Harps: McKeown: Boylan, Boyle, Slevin, Donelon; Rainey, N’zeyi, Connolly, McNamee (McGing, 83); McWoods (Timlin, 90+4), Mihaljevic (Duncan, h-t)
Sligo Rovers: McNicholas, Banks (Barlow, 84 mins), Pijnaker, Blaney, Kirk; Burton, McDonnell (Cawley, 84), Fitzgerald (Livak, 72 mins); O’Sullivan, Mata, Keena.
Referee: R. Hennessy (Limerick).