Dundalk 0 Shamrock Rovers 0
Two inexperienced goalkeepers shone at Oriel Park on Monday night as Dundalk preserved their unbeaten start to the season against Shamrock Rovers.
Nathan Shepperd made a Gordon Banks-esque save to somehow keep Aaron Greene’s header out with 20 minutes to go while Leon Pöhls – in for the absent Alan Mannus – also made a couple of fine saves to deny Patrick Hoban, who blazed over a great chance to win it in stoppage-time.
The result means Stephen O’Donnell’s side are unbeaten in six – albeit with five draws – while Stephen Bradley’s Rovers drop to fourth in the table having been held for the first time this season.
Dundalk bossed the first-half chances with Robbie Benson firing wide after Pöhls had spilled a cross on seven minutes.
Shepperd was then called into action on 25 minutes to tip Richie Towell’s shot over after he had been played in behind Andy Boyle by Seán Hoare before Pöhls made a fine save to keep Hoban’s header from Benson’s corner out.
He was beaten from the follow-up corner a minute later but Mark Connolly’s header was cleared off the line by Graham Burke.
Towell rattled the crossbar at the start of the second half before Shepperd saved with his legs from Danny Mandriou after he had broke clear on the right from Burke’s pass.
The Welsh under-21 international then made the save of the night on 70 minutes when he dove to his right to claw away substitute Greene’s downward header from Barry Cotter’s cross.
Pöhls then made a stop almost as good to deny Hoban after Rovers failed to clear a cross from John Martin.
Hoban had a guilt-edged chance to win it in stoppage-time when Greg Sloggett broke to the endline but he blazed over from 10 yards out.
DUNDALK: Shepperd; Macari, Connolly, Boyle, Bone; Williams (McMillan, 88 mins), Benson, Sloggett; Martin, Hoban, Adams (Ward, 71 mins).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Pöhls; Hoare, Lopes, Grace; Lyons, O'Neill, Towell, Cotter (Farrugia, 76 mins); Byrne (Greene, 68 mins), Burke (Gaffney, 76 mins), Mandroiu (Emakhu, 89 mins).
Referee: Damien MacGraith (Mayo).
St Patrick’s Athletic 2 UCD 0
Doyles – Eoin and Mark – delivered the goals to put St Patrick’s Athletic top of the Premier Division table with a third successive win as they had too much for UCD at Richmond Park.
Though some slack defending afforded UCD scoreable chances for Dylan Duffy and Colm Whelan, St Pat’s dominance of the ball finally told on 34 minutes.
Having collected Chris Forrester’s weighted pass on the right, Darragh Burns got a ricochet back off his initial cross to whip another ball across goal for Eoin Doyle to dive in and force it to the net off his chest.
And but for frantic defending by College, Eoin Doyle would have had a second of the night right on the blow of the break.
Having stolen a half a yard at the near post to get a flick header to Billy King’s corner, any Eoin Doyle celebrations were denied by Sam Todd being superbly positioned to head off the line.
While Eoin Doyle again remained the big threat into the second half, it was his namesake Mark who doubled St Pat’s lead on 58 minutes.
King was again involved as his cross was headed away by John Ryan.
It dropped only as far as Mark Doyle who chested it down onto his right foot to drill a drive to the bottom corner from just outside the box for a composed finish.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: Anang; Scott, Redmond, Grivosti, Bermingham (Breslin, 36); Forrester, O'Reilly; Burns (McClelland, 84 mins), King (Owolabi, 65 mins), M Doyle; E Doyle (Coughlan, 84 mins).
UCD: Healy; Osam, Yoro, Todd, Ryan (Dunne, 74 mins); Keaney (Caffrey, 62 mins); Kerrigan (Gill, 84 mins), Brennan (Higgins, 74 mins), Verdon, Duffy (Norris, 84 mins); Whelan.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Midlands).
Derry City 2 Drogheda United 0
Star striker Jamie McGonigle will again hog the headlines thanks to his brace of goals against Drogheda, but an injury to the returning Michael Duffy will cause concern in the Brandywell treatment room.
With the Candystripes leading 1-0, Duffy was introduced in the 61st minute, however a heavy challenge within 10 minutes saw the winger having to be helped off the pitch with a leg injury.
With Derry hosting St Pat’s on Friday night, Duffy’s availability would appear to be in doubt for that fixture.
Drogheda started on the front foot and, indeed, forced Derry’s Brian Maher into two saves within the space of as many minutes straight from the kick-off, but that was as good as it got for Kevin Doherty’s charges.
Drogheda’s bright early start was cancelled out by McGonigle, who broke the deadlock much to the delight of another capacity attendance in the fourth minute.
Shane McEleney lofted the ball forward, Will Patching brought it under control before feeding the strike and the Dungiven man lashed the ball into the net from 14 yards giving goalkeeper Sam Long no chance.
The Louth side lost the services of midfielder Darragh Markey, due to what appeared to be an ankle injury midway through the opening period, with Mark Hughes summoned from the bench.
Derry went so close again in the 38th minute when another long ball from McEleney found McGonigle but his first-time effort screamed narrowly wide of the target.
Drogheda suffered another injury blow five minutes into the second half when Mark Hughes limped off following what appeared to be a 50/50 challenge with Derry’s Joe Thomson.
The introduction of Duffy in the 61st minute was greeted with prolonged applause, but his involvement was limited to 10 minutes as the winger was brought crashing down to earth following a robust challenge from Keith Cowan, the Drogheda centre back booked for the challenge.
Derry doubled their tally in the 63rd minute when McGonigle again weaved his magic.
Having timed his run to perfection, the striker raced onto Cameron Dummigan’s inch-perfect pass before side-stepping Long and stroking the ball neatly into the corner of the net.
DERRY CITY: Maher; Toal, McJannet, McEleney; Boyce, Dummigan, Patching, Thomson (Malone, 74 mins), Lafferty; Kavanagh (Duffy, 61 mins), Akintunde, 71 mins); McGonigle.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Long; Roughan, Cowan, Massey; Poynton, Nugent (Grimes, 80), Deegan, Markey (Hughes, 26 mins; Clarke, 54 mins), Rooney; Williams; Foley.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).
Sligo Rovers 3 Finn Harps 1
In the night’s other game, Aidan Keena’s hat-trick secured a 3-1 win for Sligo Rovers over Finn Harps at the Showgrounds to move them up to third in the table.
Luke Rudden scored a late equaliser for the Donegal side, who remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division table.