Bohemians close on Europa League as Dundalk suffer first domestic defeat since April
Round-up: Greg Bolger stunner leaves Finn Harps heading for playoff; Cork City earn first win under Neale Fenn
Bohemians’ Derek Pender celebrates scoring a goal with team-mates during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Dundalk at Dalymount Park. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Bohemians 2 Dundalk 1
Bohemians inflicted a first domestic defeat on Dundalk’s since April to boost their European qualification prospects.
A goal in each half from Luke Wade-Slater and Andre Wright at Dalymount Park clinched a fully deserved win for the Gypsies, who require a point from their last two games to secure a place in the Europa League.
Substitute Michael Duffy, one of three regulars on the bench due to flu, pulled back a consolation for the league champions with the last kick of the game.
After soaking up some early pressure, Bohs unhinged Dundalk’s three-man central defence on 28 minutes.
It was the first time for the Lilywhites to fall behind in the league since July and they should have conceded again in first-half stoppage time but Keith Ward fired wide.
Rather than Dundalk snuffing out a Bohs move on 64 minutes, Seán Hoare allowed the ball stray from his control and Wright took full control.
Though the striker was still 25 yards from goal, he rifled the loose ball low and hard under the grasp of Rogers.
Teenager Ross Tierney almost grabbed a third with a shot when he sliced wide before Duffy’s close-range finish at the death.
BOHEMIANS: J Talbot; D Pender R Cornwall (A Barry, 44 mins), J Finnerty, P Kirk; R Tierney, S Allardice; L Wade-Slater, K Ward (D Devoy, 82 mins), D Grant; A Wright (R Swan, 90 mins).
DUNDALK: G Rogers; D Cleary, S Hoare (L Lotefa, 72 mins), A Boyle; C Dummigan, R Benson, S Murray, J McGrath (M Duffy, 60 mins), D Massey; D Kelly (S Gannon, 60 mins), G Kelly.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)
Shamrock Rovers 1 Finn Harps 0
Greg Bolger’s stunning 79th-minute finish helped Shamrock Rovers to squeeze past the challenge of Finn Harps at Tallaght Stadium.
Harps striker Nathan Boyle was close to finding a breakthrough early on, but Hoops netminder Alan Mannus comfortably turned away his eventual strike at a tight angle.
Harps’ rigid 5-3-2 formation made life difficult for Stephen Bradley’s men, for whom teenager Neil Farrugia was making his debut on the left flank.
However, the dependable Mark McGinley came to Harps’ aid in the 57th-minute when he tipped Ronan Finn’s effort at an acute angle onto the post. He later produced an outstanding double save from Dylan Watts and Graham Burke, before Bolger fired to the roof of the net off the ensuing corner.
This was enough to give Rovers their 21st league win of the campaign and with Cork City getting the better of UCD on Leeside, Harps appear destined for a promotion/relegation playoff.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; S Kavanagh, Grace, Lafferty; Finn, B Kavanagh (McEneff, 72 mins), Bolger, Watts, Farrugia (Abulu, 76 mins); Burke, Greene (Cummins, 85 mins).
FINN HARPS: McGinley; Deasy, Ascroft, Smith, Todd, Russell; R Harkin (Doherty, 80 mins), G Harkin, Timlin (O’Reilly, 69 mins); Boyle (Place, 85 mins), McNamee.
Referee: D Tomney (Dublin).
Cork City 3 UCD 2
Cork City earned their first win under Neale Fenn as UCD’s relegation was all but decided at Turner’s Cross.
However, City’s first victory since August – and first at home since the triumph against UCD in May – wasn’t assured until the very end. While Conor McCormack put the hosts 3-1 up in injury time, Jack Keaney pulled one back for UCD from a penalty and in the 95th minute sub Danu Kinsella-Bishop almost grabbed an equaliser, his shot coming back off the post with Keaney firing the rebound over.
Dáire O’Connor doubled the home lead on 64 minutes with a goal against his former club but UCD’s best performer Keane made it 2-1 on 72 minutes. Any hope looked to have been extinguished when McCormack re-established the two-goal City lead, but they had to hang on.
CORK CITY: Ryan; McCormack, McCarthy, Casey, Griffin (Horgan, 81 mins); Morrissey, Byrne; Sheppard, Coustrain (Stokes, 75 mins), D O’Connor; O’Brien-Whitmarsh.
UCD: Kearns; Dignam (Kinsella-Bishop, 88 mins), McEvoy, Boore (Farrell, 27 mins), Doyle; Kerrigan, Keaney, O’Farrell, McClelland; Mahdy (Byrne, 81 mins), Keane.
Referee: S Grant (Wexford).