Airtricity League round-up: Kavanagh keeps Derry City’s Premier Division title hopes alive

Dundalk bounced back to winning ways with victory over Drogheda in Louth derby

St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Derry City 1

Cian Kavanagh hammered home a 70th-minute winner against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park last night to keep Derry City’s Premier Division title hopes alive.

Plucked from the bench in the second half, Kavanagh opened his club account in spectacular fashion to leave the Candystripes just two points adrift of defending champions Shamrock Rovers — albeit with a game more played.

Pat’s looked set to take the lead in the 16th-minute, only for Derry netminder Brian Maher (fresh from his exploits with the Republic of Ireland U21s) to pull off a dramatic close-range save from Harry Brockbank.


Saints custodian Daniel Rogers subsequently tipped a Will Patching set-piece around the post, but even though Derry were playing the more enterprising football, the hosts were on level terms at the interval.

With the deadlock still unbroken heading into the final-quarter, Ruaidhri Higgins sought to inject fresh life into the Derry challenge by adding Joe Thomson and Kavanagh to the mix.

This proved to be a stroke of genius from the Candystripes boss as — with their first involvements of the game — Thomson headed the ball into Kavanagh’s path and the former Waterford attacker unleashed an unstoppable strike from a right-hand angle into the bottom left-hand corner.

Yet the travelling Derry faithful breathed a sigh of relief when Pat’s midfielder Chris Forrester rattled the frame of the woodwork just two minutes later. Forrester and Derry substitute Ryan Graydon were both dismissed in an ill-tempered finale, but Derry ultimately held firm for their 17th league win of 2022.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Rogers; Brockbank (King, 72 mins), Redmond, Grivosti; Cotter, O’Reilly, Forrester, Lennon, Curtis; Atakayi (M Doyle, 58 mins), E Doyle (Owolabi, 79 mins).

DERRY CITY: Maher; Boyce, Connolly, McJannet, Coll; P McEleney (Graydon, 46 mins), Diallo (Thomson, 68 mins), Dummigan, Duffy; Patching (Lafferty, 86 mins); McGonigle (C Kavanagh, 68 mins).

Referee: D Tomney (Dublin).

Dundalk 2 Drogheda Utd 0

A Runar Hauge penalty and a Dane Massey own goal proved decisive as Dundalk bounced back to winning ways with victory over neighbours Drogheda Utd in the Louth Derby at Casey’s Field last night.

Stephen O’Donnell’s side hadn’t won in their previous four league matches dating back to the 1-0 win away to Bohemians at Dalymount Park on August 12th.

However, two goals in quick succession before the break saw them get their bid for European qualification back on track as they opened up a five-point lead over fourth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic, who have a game in hand away to Shelbourne on Monday.

Kevin Doherty’s visitors had started on top but it was the home side who took the lead against the run of play on 40 minutes when Hauge slotted home a penalty after being fouled in the box by Dayle Rooney.

Dundalk then doubled their lead in fortuitous fashion in the first minute of stoppage time when Greg Sloggett’s drilled cross from the came off Lilywhite legend Massey to creep past Colin McCabe at his near post.

Ryan O’Kane went closest to adding to his side’s tally in the second half when he was slipped in by Joe Adams but McCabe was sharp off his line to deny him.

There were nine minutes of stoppage time added at the end due to a spectator needing medical attention and it ended on a sour note for Drogheda as substitute Ryan Brenann was shown a straight red card in the 93rd minute for an off-the-ball incident.

Dundalk: Shepperd; Mountney, Bone, Boyle, Leahy; Sloggett (Benson 63), Lewis; Hauge (Bradley 59), Adams (Ward 95), O’Kane; Martin (McMillan 95).

Drogheda Utd: McCabe; Nugent, Quinn, Cowan, Massey, Weir (Rooney 25); Foley (Brennan 64), Deegan, Noone (Heeney 64), Markey (Grimes 64); Williams (Lyons 67).

Referee: John McLoughlin (Roscommon).

Finn Harps 1 Shelbourne 1

Stephan Negru scored on his league debut as Shelbourne came from behind to draw with Finn Harps in a contest that really only came to life in the second half at Finn Park.

FAI Cup semi-finalists Shels have now gone seven games without a win in the Premier Division and remain seventh.

For relegation-threatened Harps, this point was enough to lift them above UCD at the foot of the table, albeit on goal difference.

Shels had the better of the opening exchanges, knocking the ball about well and at pace, but apart from a Matty Smith shot over the target there was little in the way of goalmouth action.

With both defences untroubled, it was clear that something special would be required to break the deadlock.

Shels best chance of the first half came on 40 minutes when Shane Farrell fed the ball through into the path of Dan Carr but Gary Boylan did well to make a vital tackle near the post at the expense of a corner that came to nothing.

Harps went ahead on 52 minutes when Barry McNamee whipped the ball in from the left and Conor Tourish got the vital touch with a close range header.

But the lead was short-lived as Shels struck back within five minutes as Negru rose to connect with a corner and head past James McKeown. Brendan Clarke made a superb save on 75 minutes to push over a header from substitute Rob Jones while Sean Boyd twice went close for Shels against his former club.

Both sides pushed for a winner but a draw was a fair outcome.

Finn Harps: McKeown; Tourish (Carrillo, 77 mins), McGing, Slevin, Donelon; Boyle, Boylan, Connolly; Siaj, (Jones 73 mins), McWoods (Mihaljevic, 13 mins), McNamee.

Shelbourne: Clarke; Negru, Clarke, Griffin (Ledwidge, 63 mins); Wilson, Dervin (Lunney, 63 mins), Molloy, Farrell; Giurgi (Boyd, 76 mins), Smith, Hodgins (Carr, 29 mins)

Referee: A. Reale (Kildare).

Bohemians 1 UCD 0

James Clarke scored his first goal for Bohemians, though they should have won by more in seeing off UCD at Dalymount Park.

A third win from four league games lifts the Gypsies up to fifth in the table. Defeat sees UCD drop back down to the bottom on goal difference.

UCD started prominently, spurning a glorious chance on 11 minutes. Dara Keane’s tenacity got him to the end line on the right to cross, though Alex Nolan’s hurried volley flashed wide.

It was the 23rd minute before the home side came alive with midfielder Clarke creating the opening for Jamie Mullins to shoot into the side netting.

A poor defensive header from Dunne then gifted Bohemians winger Kris Twardek a shooting opportunity he didn’t refuse. The visitors were thankful Kian Moore was equal to the shot to tip it over the top.

A goal was coming for Bohemians and it duly arrived on 40 minutes. A surging run from the back by Rory Feely opened up the College defence. The centre-half threaded a pace in for Clarke who confidently slipped the ball past Moore.

Remaining on the front foot into the second half, Bohemians forced Moore into his second fine save of the night two minutes in from captain Jordan Flores’ free-kick.

It was the 59th minute before UCD got a shot on target, Tadhg Ryan comfortably behind Dylan Duffy’s effort from the edge of the area.

A minute later Moore rescued the Students again. Clarke dinked Ethon Varian in on goal with the goalkeeper standing up well to make the save.

UCD’s Michael Gallagher was sent off for a second booking in the 80th minute.

Moore continued to keep the score down deep in stoppage time with another good save from substitute Ali Coot; Jack Keaney clearing Jordan Doherty’s follow-up off the line.

Bohemians: Ryan; Doherty, Feely, Kelly, Murphy; Flores (McManus, 71), Clarke; Twardek, Mullins (Coote, 57), McDaid; Varian (Burt, 78).

UCD: Moore; Dunne (Haist, 71), Gallagher, Keaney, Osam; Caffrey, Brennan (Higgins, 63); Duffy, Keane, Nolan (O’Connor, 84); Lonergan.

Referee: Ray Matthews (Midlands).