Sligo Rovers 2 Derry City 1
(Buckley 20, Keogh 90+3) (McGonigle 44)
Seamas Keogh scored an injury-time cracker to earn Sligo Rovers all three points at home to Derry City at the Showgrounds.
The substitute was not long on the field but had already threatened the Derry goal before smashing home a dramatic winner in the third minute of added time.
It was a dream first result for interim manager John Russell, who took the hot seat on Sunday after Liam Buckley’s departure from the club.
But it was a major setback for Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins, whose second-placed team could not take advantage of a rare slip-up from leaders Shamrock Rovers in Drogheda.
Defender Buckley deservedly opened the scoring on 20 minutes, after turning Adam McDonnell’s corner into the net at the far post when Derry had failed to clear – with his celebration referencing the birth of his son last week.
It came about after the lively Aidan Keena turned on the edge of the area and saw his effort on goal deflected out.
Jamie McGonigle was equally as alert at the following end, however, and he had Derry level before half-time after taking full advantage of a fortuitous deflection in the Sligo defence.
Buckley’s clearance spun back off a team-mate towards the Derry man, who swivelled and fired low to the net.
Sligo Rovers: McGinty, Horgan, Buckley (Pijnaker 70), Blaney, Kirk, Bolger, Morahan (Keogh 85), Fitzgerald, McDonnell, O'Sullivan (Heaney 80), Keena.
Derry City: Maher, Boyce, McEleney, Toal, McJannett, Lafferty (Smith 59), Thomson, Dummigan (Kavanagh 26), Patching, McGonigle, Akintunde.
Referee: P McLaughlin.
Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 1
A Daniel Kelly goal early in the second half paved the way for third-placed Dundalk to chalk up their fifth win in six games and close the gap on both Derry City and Shamrock Rovers after their defeats against Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United respectively.
But Stephen O’Donnell’s men had to work hard against a resolute Harps side who have now picked up just three points from their last seven outings.
Dundalk enjoyed plenty of possession early, but it was Harps who produced the first real chance of note when following a free-kick from Regan Donelon, the ball fell into the path of Jesse Devers in a dangerous position, but he was unable to get the telling connection required.
Dundalk captain Pat Hoban fired just past the post on 19 minutes but Harps really should have taken the lead just afterwards when Eric McWoods whipped in a cross from the right and Yoyo Madhy came charging in but failed to get on the end of it inside the six-yard box.
Harps had a real let off just after the half-hour mark when a mix-up in defence presented Daniel Kelly with a great opportunity but he scooped his effort over the crossbar.
The visitors got what turned out to be the matchwinner in the 53rd minute after Harps failed to clear and Kelly’s well placed shot flew past McGinley despite Donolan’s best efforts on the line to prevent the ball going in.
Harps almost equalised in the 65th minute when Ryan Connolly let fly with a thundering strike that Nathan Shepperd did well to tip over.
But Dundalk held on for a big win that puts them firmly in the title race.
Finn Harps: McGinley; Boyle, Tourish, Slevin, Donolan; McWoods, Rainey, Connolly, Timlin (Mihaljevic 6, 61 mins); Mahdy, Devers (Rudden, 64 mins).
Dundalk: Shepperd; Macari, Bone, Boyle, Leahy; Doyle (Benson, 64 mins); Martin (Bradley, 71 mins), Sloggett, Ward, Kelly (Adams, 78 mins); Hoban (McMillan, 78 mins)
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Dublin).
St Patrick's Athletic 3 Bohemians 0
(Owolabi 5, 45, 68)
Tunde Owolabi struck a superb hat-trick at Richmond Park last night to propel St Patrick’s Athletic to a convincing Dublin derby win over Bohemians in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
One of three players drafted into the Pat’s starting line-up following their disappointing 2-1 defeat to Shelbourne in the same venue on Friday, Owolabi broke the deadlock with just under five minutes on the clock.
Capitalising on a defensive mishap by former Saints star Ciaran Kelly, the Belgian attacker raced through on goal and drove a powerful shot to the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The visitors responded to this setback by creating a succession of chances, including an Ali Coote effort that rebounded off the crossbar. Pat’s custodian Joseph Anang – currently on loan from West Ham United – also produced a number of fine saves as the Gypsies looked to force their way back into contention.
However, Pat’s held firm as the action progressed and ultimately brought a 2-0 lead into the interval after Owolabi fired home his second goal from a left-hand angle in stoppage-time.
The former Finn Harps man had the match ball in his sights on the resumption and while Tyreke Wilson blocked his path to goal on 54 minutes, his third of the evening arrived just inside the final-quarter.
After Eoin Doyle was fouled inside the box from a Sam Curtis delivery, Owolabi stepped up to the penalty spot and comfortably slotted beyond the reach of James Talbot to place the outcome well beyond doubt.
While Pat’s remain in fourth ahead of their trip to Dundalk on Friday, Bohs have slipped down to seventh after suffering their fifth defeat of 2022 and will be seeking to get their campaign back on track at home to Drogheda United on the same day.
St Patrick's Athletic: Anang; Redmond, Grivosti, Bermingham; Curtis, Forrester (M Doyle, 72 mins), O'Reilly, Breslin; McClelland (Burns, 83 mins); E Doyle (McCormack, 77 mins), Owolabi (Robinson, 72 mins).
Bohemians: Talbot; Murphy, Doherty, Kelly, Wilson; Devoy, Levingston (Mullins, 63 mins); Coote (Burt, 46 mins), Flores (McManus, 81 mins), Omochere (Cassidy, 81 mins); Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).
Shelbourne 2 UCD 0
(Boyd 45, Moylan 46)
Sean Boyd and Jack Moylan maintained their eye for goal to keep Shelbourne on the up.
Boyd opened the scoring from a dubiously awarded penalty right before the interval with Moylan doubling the lead seconds after restart.
It’s six goals for the pair – three apiece – in the last four games as Damien Duff returned to the dugout after his three-match ban to oversee a fourth straight win to lift his team to sixth in the table.
Shelbourne goalkeeper Brendan Clarke made the two key saves of the first half from Liam Kerrigan and Mark Dignam before the drama of what looked a really poor decision gifted them the lead in first half stoppage time.
Boyd dived but failed to meet Farrell’s cross with UCD right-back Michael Gallagher albeit in close attention. To the consternation of the visitors, referee Ben Connolly pointed to the spot.
Boyd sent the penalty straight down the middle to record his sixth goal of the season with incensed UCD manager Andy Myler yellow-carded for dissent.
The second half was just nine seconds old when UCD had only their hesitant defence to blame as Shelbourne doubled their lead.
Moylan kicked off, sending the ball right back to skipper Luke Byrne who launched it forward from just outside his box.
The UCD defence didn’t deal with the long ball as Moylan stole in to lob it over the advancing Moore to bounce through to the net.
UCD worked hard to get back into the game but couldn’t find a way past Clarke.
The veteran keeper produced a brilliant save to deprive Jack Keaney on 80 minutes before saving Kerrigan’s penalty in added time.
Shelbourne: Clarke; O'Driscoll, Byrne, Griffin; Lunney (Ledwidge, 82), Dervin; Farrell, Hakiki (Wilson, 72), Kane; Moylan (Molloy, 68), Boyd (Carr, 82).
UCD: Moore; Gallagher, Yoro, Todd, Osam; Keaney, Keane (Verdon, 72); Kerrigan, Caffrey (Higgins, 85), Dignam (Lonergan, 66); Duffy (Nolan, 85).
Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).