Dundalk 6-2 Limerick
It was raining goals at Oriel Park on Friday night as league leaders Dundalk put six past bottom side Limerick to maintain their three point advantage at the top of the table.
It took just four minutes for Dundalk to break through. Stephen O'Donnell, making his first start since the title decider with Cork City on the final day of last season, played a neat one two with Daryl Horgan before planting a blistering drive past Conor O'Donnell from close range.
Martin Russell’s side were looking to end a run of six straight defeats but it looked like any way back into the game had gone up in smoke when Brian Gartland rose to head home Darren Meenan’s corner on the half hour mark.
Goal number three arrived in the 35th minute. Finn unlocked the Limerick back four again and David McMillan ran through to beat O’Donnell and claim his first goal since April 17th.
The second half continued in the same vein. McMillan took hold of a Finn pass to smash the ball in via the underside of the crossbar after 54 minutes before Limerick pulled one back when Sean Harding’s free kick drifted in from the right and beat Gary Rogers, who gave the impression that the ball was going wide.
Dundalk restored their four goal cushion when Gartland flicked home another Meenan corner in the 64th minute before Limerick made it 5-2 in the 70th minute. Dean Clarke’s drive was well stopped by Rogers but Shane Duggan pounced on Andy Boyle’s attempted header back to his goalkeeper to prod the ball home.
Rogers redeemed himself in the 75th minute when he got down to save a Shane Tracey penalty after Dane Massey had hauled substitute Ross Mann down on the right of the box and the scoring was rounded off when Limerick sub Tony Whitehead deflected a Jake Kelly cross into his net in the final minute.
Meanwhile Shamrock Rovers made it ten wins in a row over Galway United as they resumed their hunt for the title at Eamonn Deacy Park.
The Hoops were made to work for their points by a Galway side full of endeavour and it took a second-half strike from Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters to win it for them.
Luke Byrne gave them the lead in the opening half but Enda Curran equalised after the break, before Waters struck the decisive score.
Shamrock Rovers were 1-0 at the break after an enterprising opening from both sides.
Tim Clancy almost broke the deadlock for the visitors at the end of the first quarter and Brandon Miele also nearly slotted home but Conor Winn kept his clean sheet.
Galway full back Colm Horgan went close to giving his side the lead but to no avail and Rovers struck after 40 minutes.
Mark Ludden fouled Waters on the edge of his area. Stephen McPhail swung the ball in and Ryan Brennan’s header found Byrne who finished easily.
Tommy Dunne made two changes at half-time with Kevin Garcia and Curran entering the fray.
Curran didn’t take long to make his mark and inside a minute he netted with his first touched when Shanahan provided the pass.
Galway were a different proposition after their equaliser and with Curran and Keegan they had a potent threat.
The American almost set Shanahan up but the latter couldn’t goal when he had an open goal in front of him in on the hour.
Waters nearly struck back for Rovers after the hour but he found a crucial goal in the 70th minute.
Elsewhere an 89th minute winner from substitute Tiarnan Mulvenna saw Drogheda snatch an unlikely three points from a dominant Bohemians at Dalymount Park.
Despite having enjoyed good spells of possession throughout Bohemians were sucker-punched in the dying minutes.
Sean Thornton whipped over a corner from the right and Mulvenna arched his header to the far corner of Dean Delany’s net.
Bohemians then thought they’ll equalised three minutes into stoppage time, but winger Adam Evans’ effort was ruled offside.
Drogheda’s Cathal Brady, playing in the hole behind Lee Duffy, carved the game’s first opening on six minutes, his left wing cross headed over the top by Adam Whelan.
Bohemians weren’t too far away with their response from an almost identical chance eight minutes later, Karl Moore heading over Micheal Schlingermann’s crossbar from Evans’ deep left wing delivery.
Though Bohemians had much of the ball in that tight, cautious first half, Drogheda defended stubbornly with Alan Byrne and Robert O’Reilly commanding in the heart of their back four.
As in the first half, Drogheda created the first opening of the second. O’Reilly’s corner was laid off by Carl Walshe for Lee Duffy who curled his shot over the bar.
Though Bohemians soon got hold of the ball to own it for a long bout of pressure, they were struggling to trouble Schlingermann in the Drogheda goal.
That changed on 65 minutes as the game finally opened up.
Evans and Ismahil Akinade got Keith Buckley in on goal but his attempted chip was straight at Schlingermann.
A minute later Akinade blazed over the bar after Schlingermann failed to gather Lorcan Fitzgerald’s cross from the left.
A shout for a penalty was denied Bohemians four minutes later when Akinade went down under a challenge form O’Reilly as Keith Long’s side maintained the pressure, only to be stung at the death.