Airtricity League round-up: Dundalk and Rovers maintain perfect starts
Cork City run riot against Longford Town, Derry City win in Bray
Dane Massey of Dundalk reacts to missing a chance at Ferrycarrig Park. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Wexford Youths 1 Dundalk 2
Ciaran Kilduff deprived Wexford Youths of a first Premier Division point with a late winner at Ferrycarrig Park to keep the champions top of the table.
Value for David McMillan’s first half lead, Dundalk struggled to impose their game on Youths in the second.
And Shane Keegan’s newcomers grew in confidence to deservedly level on 81 minutes.
But a mistake by captain and keeper Graham Doyle three minutes later gifted Dundalk victory.
Dane Massey’s cross from the left picked out substitute Kilduff whose header Doyle allowed to squirm under him and over the line.
That was harsh luck on Doyle as he’d kept Dundalk out in the first half.
The 37-year-old custodian did well to palm a long-range free kick from John Mountney round a post on 25 minutes.
And Doyle was there again with the save of the first half six minutes later, getting a strong hand to an impressive 30-yard drive from Horgan.
Youths relieved the pressure with their most incisive move of the half as Murphy set up strike partner Danny Furlong to curl a shot wide.
But the pressure told back at the other end on 34 minutes when Dundalk deservedly took the lead.
Mountney was the instigator on the right as his deep cross found McMillan at the back post for the striker to score his first goal of the season with a downward header.
Youths added some impetus to their game on the resumption with Furlong heading over the top from Danny Ledwith’s free kick eight minutes in.
Dundalk then escaped when defender Brian Gartland and keeper Gary Rogers got in each other’s way in trying to deal with a Murphy free kick which they were happy to see fly out for a corner.
Wexford Youths: Doyle; Friel, Last, Grace, R. Delaney (McCabe, 76); Molloy, Wall, Ledwith, Mulligan (Bonner 63); Furlong, Murphy.
Dundalk: Rogers; Barrett, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Shields, Finn; Mountney, McEleney (Benson 79), Horgan; McMillan (Kilduff, 75).
Referee: Paul Tuite
Finn Harps 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
Shamrock Rovers were forced to battle hard to overcome a resolute Finn Harps side in a stop and start encounter in Ballybofey.
Pat Fenlon’s charges were made to work hard in their last outing before overcoming last season’s First Division champions Wexford Youths.
And they also found newly promoted Finn Harps an equally tough nut to crack in Finn Park.
Rovers had the better of the opening exchanges with Harps goalkeeper Richard Brush being forced into making a number of saves.
A serious of stoppages for injuries disrupted the flow of the game after the break but Rovers almost snatched an unlikely lead on 57 minutes when a speculative Gary McCabe effort from long range just dipped over the bar with Brush watching anxiously.
The Hoops came to Ballybofey knowing that anything less than a win would represent points dropped in their title quest.
The visitors finally made the breakthrough courtesy of a 68th minute penalty from McCabe after Brush took down Gary North in the box.
Michael Drennan then had a goal disallowed for Rovers due to an offside decision.
Harps pushed hard in the closing stages with six minutes of stoppage time adding to the drama but Rovers held on.
Given Harps’ tough opening three fixtures combined with early season injury problems , boss Ollie Horgan is probably happy enough to have a return of three points.
This result maintains Rovers 100% record even if they have yet to really sparkle.
Finn Harps: Brush; McNulty, Mailey, Cowan, Boyle (Flatley, 82); Harkin; Scully, Foy (McHugh, 70), McNamee (Funston, 79), Hanlon 6; Curran 6.
Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Madden, Blanchard, O’Connor, G. Brennan; Drennan, McCabe, K. Brennan (Craig, 68) , Miele; Shaw , North (McCaffrey, 90) .
Referee: N Doyle
Cork City 6 Longford Town 0
Steven Beattie scored a hat-trick as Cork City recorded the biggest league win of John Caulfield’s time in charge, easily seeing off Longford Town at Turner’s Cross.
From the moment Beattie opened the scoring in the third minute, the game carried an air of inevitability, and so it proved. The hosts led 3-0 at half-time and might have won by even more, but they can be happy with this response to their loss to Derry City at the weekend.
They made five changes, and two of those brought in were involved in the opener, Colin Healy’s corner punched by Paul Skinner straight to Beattie, who half-volleyed home.
The second came on 10 minutes as Kenny Browne’s good ball set Kevin O’Connor away and he unselfishly squared for Seán Maguire. Other chances followed, but it wasn’t until first-half injury-time that they got a third, Danny Morrissey converting the rebound after Beattie had hit the post.
Morrissey provided the assist for the fourth on 52, chesting down Karl Sheppard’s cross so Beattie could finish, and then, midway through the half, Sheppard rattled the crossbar from distance before Beattie turned the ball home to complete his hat-trick.
With no end to the flow of City attacks, they always looked like getting another and the sixth arrived late on, Morrissey getting his second.
Cork City: McNulty; Dunleavy, O’Connell (McSweeney 62), Browne, O’Connor; Healy, G Morrissey (O’Sullivan 62); D Morrissey, Beattie, Sheppard; Maguire (Ogbene 76).
Longford Town: Skinner; Hughes, Flynn (Beirne 83), Rossiter, O’Reilly; O’Sullivan, Mulhall, Dillon (McKeown 61), Gannon, Simon (Chambers 73); O’Hanlon.
Referee: S Grant (Wexford).
Sligo Rovers 1 Galway United 1
Galway United dropped points for the first time this season, after a 1-1 draw with Connacht rivals Sligo Rovers.
Ruairi Keating scored against his former team to earn Tommy Dunne’s side a share of the spoils, but they will feel they could have claimed all three points, especially as the home side were reduced to ten men late on.
Sligo had a dream start and got their first goal of this year’s campaign inside 60 seconds, as Liam Martin’s effort from the edge of the box looked straightforward for Conor Winn in the Galway goal, but somehow squirmed under him and into the net.
Galway fans travelled in good numbers and were left in shock by the early setback, but they will have been pleased with their side’s response, as Rovers keeper Micheal Schlingermann had to pull off two excellent saves before half-time, the first from a curling Ryan Connolly effort, and then a brilliant stop at the feet of Keating.
The striker was not to be denied twice though, and he got his goal nine minutes into the second half, after pouncing on the loose ball when the hosts failed to clear a free-kick.
But Rovers held on despite having Phil Roberts sent-off on a straight red card in the closing stages - the team’s third red card already this season.
Sligo: Schlingermann, Adebayo-Rowling, Peers, Clancy, Donelon, Keohane, Russell (Leahy ht), Richards, Martin, Roberts, Gordon (Lyons 73).
Galway: Winn, Horgan, Folan, Sinnott, Walsh, Devaney, Sullivan, Connolly, Shanahan, Faherty (Curran 67), Keating (Cunningham 81).
Referee: D McKeon.
Bray Wanderers 0 Derry City 3
Former Northern Ireland ace Rory Patterson’s second half double then condemned Bray to their third defeat this season to remain rooted to the bottom of the top-flight table
Barry McNamee floated a deep free which was met by Rory Patterson’s driven volley.
Peter Cherrie made a fine save down low. But McNamee gathered and dinked a cross for Barry to steer in a close range header.
City went close to doubling that lead four minutes before the interval.
McNamee intercepted Paul Finnegan’s intended pass and burst forward. He played a reverse ball across the edge of the box for the breaking Patterson who was thwarted by Cherrie’s leg block.
But the Candystripes striker did make it 2-0 with 19 minutes remaining.
Midfielder Harry Monaghan muscled into the penalty area and with a clever turn, rolled the ball to Patterson who claimed his second goal of the campaign with a low finish from 15-yards.
Derry’s third score arrived stoppage time. Patterson out-muscled Paul Finnegan, evaded Cherrie’s dive and stroked into an empty net from 12-yards.
Bray Wanderers: Cherrie; Douglas, Finnegan, McNally, Marks (Murphy 70); Byrne, Brennan, Salmon (Pender 70), Creevy, Moore (Connolly 87); Lewis.
Derry City: Doherty; Vemmelund, McBride, Barry, Jarvis (McClean 90 +3); McGlynn (McEneff 79), McCormack (Ward 89), Monaghan, Curtis; McNamee; Patterson.
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).