Sligo Rovers 1 Derry City 0
Derry City’s title hopes took a knock at the Showgrounds on Friday night, as a battling Sligo Rovers side claimed all three points.
Substitute Stefan Radosavljevic scored the only goal of the game, as Derry’s poor record this season against their northwest rivals worsened.
Having lost on both trips to Sligo now this year, Derry are five points off the leaders Shamrock Rovers, albeit it could have been worse had the Hoops not stuttered against UCD.
But Ruaidhri Higgins’s side were left incensed with referee Robert Harvey at the full-time whistle, having felt that Radosavljevic used his hand when directing the ball to the net on 84 minutes.
Ronan Boyce was also left angry at his earlier sending-off for a second bookable offence, and his reaction as he departed the pitch sparked a confrontation between both benches at the tunnel.
All of that happened in the final 10 minutes, with little else of significance occurring in the 80 minutes that preceded it.
The goal came following a great cross into the area from Reece Hutchinson, but Radosavljevic really should have doubled his and Sligo’s advantage just two minutes later when he somehow blazed over from inside the area when a goal looked certain.
Sligo: Brush, Brannefalk (Liivak, 55), Buckley, Mahon (Pijnaker, ht), Hutchinson, Morahan (Radosavljevic, 78), Cawley, Bolger (Browning, 79), Burton (Barlow, 63), O’Sullivan, Martelo.
Derry: Maher, Boyce, Coll, McJannett, Doherty (B Cavanagh, 88), O’Reilly, Diallo (Dummigan, 69), Patching, McMullan (McEneff, 83), Duffy, Mullen (C Cavanagh, 69).
Referee: R Harvey.
Shelbourne 2 Cork City 1
Will Jarvis scored his first goal for Shelbourne to deliver a third successive win for Damien Duff’s side as their quest for Europe gathers pace.
Stretching their unbeaten league run to nine games moves Shelbourne up to fourth place in the table, their highest placing since Duff took charge last year, ahead of a trip to Bohemians on Monday night.
Defeat means Cork slip nine points from safety in the relegation play-off place.
Brim full of confidence amid their best form of the season, Shelbourne troubled the visitors several times before taking a deserved lead on 28 minutes.
Though his corner was headed partially clear, the ball was worked back to the influential Harry Wood. The cross bounced awkwardly off Cork captain Cian Coleman with Jack Moylan picking up the loose ball to show clever feet and find the bottom corner for his ninth league goal of the season.
The lead lasted just six minutes as Cork levelled from the penalty spot.
Euclides Cabral gave the ball away to give Ben Worman a run down the left with his cross then striking the upper arm of Paddy Barrett. Ruairi Keating drove the ball home emphatically from 12 yards for his 12th goal of the campaign.
A sliding doors moment restored Shelbourne’s lead in the second minute of added time at the end of the half.
City winger Malik Dijksteel’s heavy touch saw the ball run through for Conor Kearns when he was in on goal.
The goalkeeper’s quick throw found Wood who threaded a fine pass in behind Jonas Hakkinen for the run of fellow Hull City loanee Jarvis whose flicked shot found the far corner with a slight deflection off Coleman.
Cork remained very much a threat through Keating who brought a big save from Kearns five minutes into the second half while, minutes later, Coleman arrowed a header straight at the home keeper.
In an open game now, Moylan was guilty of not extending Shelbourne’s lead on 67 minutes when he skilfully carved an opening only to shoot straight at Ollie Byrne.
Shelbourne: Kearns; Cabral (T. Wilson, 57), Barrett (Quinn, h-t), Molloy, Griffin; Coyle, Lunney (McManus, 88); Farrell (Caffrey, 72), Wood, Jarvis (JR Wilson, 88); Moylan.
Cork City: Byrne; Hakkinen, Coleman, Honohan (Walker, 81), Drinan; Bolger, Kravchuk; Bargary, Worman (O’Brien-Whitmarsh, 81), Dijksteel; Keating.
Referee: David Dunne (Dublin)
Drogheda 0 Bohemians 0
Drogheda United members are set to have proposals regarding significant investment from US investment firm Trivela Group LLC put before them within the next seven days as a potential takeover of the county Louth club edges closer.
News of that investment, first reported by The Irish Times, surfaced on Louth derby day last June. By the time, Drogheda travel to Oriel Park next Friday for the fourth and final instalment of this season’s derby encounters, it may be apparent whether supporters are in favour of such backing.
Dundalk, now in their post-Peak 6 era, offer a cautionary tale in that regard. Drogheda can point to Trivela’s work with League Two side Walsall as the reason why no such worries should permeate their fan base.
Goalkeeper Andrew Wogan was the star of the show in a game where Bohemians were an almost constant threat to the home goal. The 17-year-old saved three times from in-form Jonathan Afolabi, the first a point-blank block from close range.
The irrepressible James Clarke also saw an effort tipped over and Ali Coote’s shot was blocked by Conor Keeley. Drogheda’s attacks were intermittent but more threatening than a week previously when they were knocked out of the FAI Cup by the same opposition.
Adam Foley saw a shot hacked off the line in the second half.
Drogheda United: Wogan; Heeney, Keeley, Weir, Kane; Deegan, O’Brien; Foley (Noone, 85), Markey, Rooney; Brennan.
Bohemians: Talbot; Buckley, Nowak, Radkowski, Flores; McDonnell (O’Sullivan, 84), McManus; Connolly (Grant, 77), Clarke, Coote (McDaid, 77); Afolabi.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
UCD 0 Shamrock Rovers 0
Despite enduring a frustrating evening in Belfield, the four-in-a-row chasing Shamrock Rovers moved five points clear at the Premier Division summit with a scoreless draw against UCD.
Now 16 points adrift of Cork City with just five games left to play, this result also consigns the gallant students to relegation from the League of Ireland top-flight.
As expected, Rovers dominated possession from the very beginning of the contest with UCD struggling to make an attacking impact for the majority of the action. Yet with their goalkeeper Kian Moore making a couple of low saves from Neil Farrugia and Graham Burke in advance of Rory Gaffney missing a close-range opportunity, the deadlock remained unbroken at the interval.
With Andy Myler’s committed side continuing to dig in, Hoops manager Stephen Bradley introduced the experienced Aaron Greene 10 minutes after the resumption. The ex-Republic of Ireland Under-21 international hit the side-netting just past the third-quarter mark and Burke subsequently fired a shot marginally over the crossbar.
A breakthrough goal didn’t materialise for Rovers in the end, but with second-place Derry City losing out to Sligo Rovers in The Showgrounds, a sharing of the spoils keeps them well on course for a defence of their crown.
UCD: Moore; O’Regan, O’Brien, Clancy, Keaney, Curtis (Osam, 61); Brennan, Keane, Verdon (Barr, 81), Behan; Doyle (Kinsella-Bishop, 67).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Cleary, Lopes, Hoare; Farrugia, Watts (Greene, 55), O’Neill, Burt (Razi,); Burke, Clarke; Gaffney.
Referee: K O’Sullivan (Cork)
St Patrick’s Athletic 3 Dundalk 1
Thomas Lonergan piled the pressure on his old boss Stephen O’Donnell as his double coupled with a 98th minute penalty from Mason Melia helped St Patrick’s Athletic to a huge victory over Dundalk at Richmond Park.
The 19-year-old, a preseason target for the Lilywhites, scored a second half double to make it three defeats on the spin for O’Donnell – who handed the striker his debut for Pat’s in July 2021.
While that adds to Dundalk’s woes on the back of their embarrassing 4-0 FAI Cup loss to Galway Utd a week previously, it has given Jon Daly’s side hope of getting into the title race as they now sit just a point behind second placed Derry City and six behind league leaders Shamrock Rovers, with a game in hand over both.
Needing a response to their Cup capitulation, the visitors started on top with Kelly firing wide after breaking in from the right on three minutes before he just failed to get on the end of Johannes Yli-Kokko’s ball in from the right on the quarter.
In between Chris Forrester had the ball in the net for St Pat’s but he was adjudged to be offside from Axel Sjoberg’s pass.
Daryl Horgan went close to a breakthrough in the 40th minute when he collected Yli-Kokko’s pass on his chest only to pull his effort to the left and wide.
Dean Lynness was then called into action for the first time a minute later as he sprang to his right to push Kelly’s shot away after Patrick Hoban had picked him out at the edge of the box.
The Louth men’s failure to find the breakthrough that their first half efforts deserved came back to haunt them when they fell behind to what was St Pat’s first attempt on target within four minutes of the restart.
Lyness’ kick-out was allowed drift over the head of Hayden Muller with Lonergan racing through to slip the ball past Nathan Shepperd.
After Jake Mulraney had curled a free kick just wide, the Inchicore outfit doubled their advantage on 57 minutes as Lonergan was once again allowed race on to a route one ball from Lyness to lob the stranded Shepperd.
Mulraney would go close again before Dundalk gave themselves some hope of a turnaround when Kelly made it five goals in his last five outings against St Pat’s with a composed finish 15 minutes from the end from Archie Davies’ pass.
Any hope they had of a turnaround were all but ended on 82 minutes, however, when former St Pat’s player Robbie Benson was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Mark Doyle with Melia making sure of the win with a 98th minute penalty on his 16th birthday.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Lyness; Sjoberg (Norman, 23), Redmond, Curtis, Breslin; Lennon, Murphy; Mulraney (Melia, 83), Forrester (Leavy, 84), McClelland (Doyle, 69); Lonergan (Carty, 69).
Dundalk: Shepperd; Davies, Sloggett, Muller, Benson; Yli-Kokko (Malley, 66), Doyle (Lewis, 86), Horgan (O’Kane, 86); Martin (Durrant, 66), Hoban, Kelly (Elliott, 92).
Referee: Damien MacGraith (Mayo)