Dundalk held by Derry in Oriel Park scoreless draw
First win in seven games at Dalymount Park for Limerick, as Drogheda and Bray draw
Dundalk’s Paddy Barrett and Nathan Boyle of Derry tussle for possession. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Dundalk 0 Derry 0
With Cork City winning in Sligo on Monday night, Dundalk knew that only three points would suffice against Derry City at Oriel Park.
They had to be content with one however, with the visitors proving to be full value for their share of the spoils after a draw that leaves Stephen Kenny’s side 15 points behind the runaway league leaders.
Kenny was able to name the same team for the third straight match, something of a luxury for the Dundalk manager this season, and the champions opened brightly.
Ger Doherty was called into action after just three minutes, turning Paddy Barrett’s glancing header from Patrick McEleney’s floated free-kick around the post.
The Derry City goalkeeper then got a strong hand on a powerful Dane Massey effort six minutes later with McEleney seeing his follow-up deflected wide.
The Candystripes were also unchanged from their 3-1 win over Shamrock Rovers four nights earlier and they arrived at the border venue knowing that a win would move them within a point of Dundalk.
Kenny Shiels once again deployed a three-man defence with Nicky Low patrolling the midfield area stylishly, but with Rory Patterson absent, they lacked a punch up front and failed to create a single opening in the first half.
As the half wore on, Dundalk seemed to hit a wall themselves as their bright start fizzled out, but they still looked the only team likely to fashion an opening.
Chris Shields fired a half-volley over the top and Robbie Benson was unlucky to see a couple of eye-catching passes just fail to hit their mark.
Things improved considerably after the break with lone Derry City striker Nathan Boyle driving a low effort across the face of the Dundalk goal early in the half.
Jamie McGrath then blazed over from a McEleney cut back before the Derryman located Massey on the left with a delicious pass, but the full-back’s knockdown just couldn’t reach David McMillan.
McEleney required some strapping to his right knee on the hour mark and he was withdrawn six minutes later, Ciaran Kilduff was his replacement.
Derry carried much more of a threat at that stage and they almost went in front 60 seconds before McEleney’s departure.
Nicky Low’s corner from the right came off Sean Hoare and looped towards goal, but luckily for the Dundalk centre-back, Benson was on the post to clear.
The Oriel Park faithful feared the worst when Boyle capitalised on a slip by Hoare in the 76th minute but he hit the side-netting with just Gary Rogers to beat.
Kenny emptied his bench with Stephen O’Donnell and Thomas Stewart also introduced, and Doherty did tip a Michael Duffy drive around the post in the 89th minute.
However, Derry City saw it out relatively comfortably and they almost snatched a win themselves in stoppage time, but Aaron McEneff hit the side netting.
DUNDALK: Rogers; Vemmelund, Hoare, Barrett, Massey; Shields (O’Donnell 74), Benson; Duffy, McEleney (Kilduff 66), McGrath; McMillan (Stewart 79).
DERRY CITY: Doherty; McDermott, Barry, Jarvis; Monaghan, Schubert (Daniels 75), Low, McNamee, Curtis; McEneff, Boyle (Timlin 79).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).
Bohemians 1 Limerick 2
A late own goal from Dan Byrne gifted Limerick a first win in seven games at Dalymount Park.
Chiedozie Ogbene’s 82nd minute header from Bastien Hery’s cross looked to be going wide, before central defender Byrne knocked it into his own net.
Bohemians finished proceedings with 10 men, when Dylan Hayes was shown a straight red card for a foul on Ogbene in stoppage time.
The home side were then incensed when Limerick’s Shaun Kelly received just a yellow for taking down Jamie Doyle seconds later, when the Bohemians substitute looked through on goal.
Starting much the better, Limerick were good value for their lead when it arrived on 15 minutes. Hery’s free kick was flicked on by Robbie Williams for Rodrigo Tosi to score with a well-placed looping header for his seventh league goal of the season.
Bohs hit back though, and punished some bad defending to level on the half hour mark.
The lively Keith Ward played a sublime low pass across the box for Georgie Poynton who confidently drove his shot to the net past Hall.
The visitors though had the rub of the green, and took the three points late on.
BOHEMIANS: Supple; Hayes, Cornwall, Byrne, Fitzgerald; Sule, Brennan (Morris, 79); Poynton, Ward (Gannon, 84), Kavanagh (Doyle, 84); Corcoran.
LIMERICK: Hall; Kelly, Cotter (Whitehead, 71), Williams, Robson; Lynch, Duggan, Hery, Ogbene,; Mulhall (D. Clarke, 78), Tosi.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).
Drogheda 0 Bray 0
Drogheda became only the second team this season to keep a clean sheet against Bray, as Pete Mahon’s sided moved off the bottom of the table following a 0-0 draw with the Seagulls at United Park.
Following their 5-0 drubbing away to Cork on Friday night, Drogheda manager Pete Mahon said he would ring the changes, and ring the changes is exactly what he did. No less than six fresh faces were included in the starting XI but it failed to have the desired effect as they struggled to get to grips with a dominant Bray.
A somewhat dull opening 45 minutes saw the visitors dominate possession.
Ryan Brennan was presented with a good chance when he collided with Drogheda ‘keeper Stephen McGuinness, the ball spilled to his feet but McGuinness managed to recover and spare his blushes.
Drogheda’s best chance came on 24 minutes when McGuinness launched a kick downfield and Wixted, at the edge of the box, lobbed a pass to Griffin but Peter Cherrie was off his line to deflect the ball from danger.
Aaron Greene and Gary McCabe’s were linking well for Bray, and on the half hour mark Greene pulled the ball down and rolled it back to McCabe, but the latter blasted his shot over.
Three back-to-back corners for Bray saw a series of calamitous defensive errors from the Drogheda defence, but a Tim Clancy foul allowed the hosts to somehow clear the danger.
The first shot on goal for either side in the second-half came on 67 minutes when McCabe hit a soft free straight at McGuinness.
A late set-piece by Drogheda almost proved to be the difference. Killian Brennan floated a free into the box and Luke Gallagher headed it down to Wixted, but Kevin Lynch put in an impressive tackle. He could only put the ball back into the path of Gallagher however, but he fired into the side netting.
Mark Doyle then headed over from a Killian Brennan free, while Sean Brennan’s pass to the back post could not be converted by either Boyle or Griffin in a tense finish.
DROGHEDA: McGuinness, Deasy, Farragher, Gallagher, Dunne, Killian Brennan, Sean Brennan, Griffin (Elliot 89), Wixted, Byrne (Doyle 75), McEvoy
BRAY: Cherrie, Buckley, Clancy (Foran 81), Kenna, Lynch, Salmon, Sullivan (Moore 58), McCabe, Brennan (Pender 74), Connolly, Greene
Referee: Robert Harvey (Dublin)