Limerick FC 2 Cork City 1
Cork City must wait until at least Monday - and the visit of Dundalk - before they can lift this year's title. That's after a stunning Limerick display at Markets Field meant only Cork's fourth defeat of the season. Cutting the gap at the top of the table to 11 points, with the reigning champions up next.
Many times this season the home defence leaked sloppy goals but on this occasion they survived a second half aerial and ground bombardment, and held out for a win that boosts their hope of avoiding relegation. And gives them added confidence for when the teams meet again in the FAI cup next week.
All the goals came inside the opening 15 minutes with Limerick scoring twice in as many minutes, with the first arriving seven minutes in.
Before that Kieran Sadlier’s header was cleared off the line by Shane Tracy, and the same man headed over after five minutes for Cork.
Limerick’s first attack brought an excellent goal though. Rodriquez Tosi spotted Mark McNulty was off his line and he superbly chipped over the goalkeeper. Cork then suffered another blow when a foul on Chiedozie Ogbene allowed Shane Tracy to put a well-struck free-kick past McNulty.
Cork grew into the game, mainly through Sadlier, but at the other end Ogbene - a former Cork player himself - was causing problems and twice more he was fouled. On the second occasion Stephen Beattie was shown a yellow but on getting back to his feet Ogbene retaliated and he too was put in the book.
Both sides won several corners and in first-half additional time Limerick almost snatched another, but Cork cleared off the line.
The league leaders dictated from the off in the second half and Sheppard wasted a good chance, before the Limerick goalkeeper was forced into three sharp saves.
The best chance of the night then fell to Cork’s playmaker in chief Sadlier, but he again headed over deep in injury time. The wait goes on for Cork.
Bohemians 3 St Patrick’s Athletic 2
Dinny Corcoran scored twice to drop St Patrick’s back into the bottom three in the ever-intriguing battle to avoid relegation from the Premier Division.
But in a rip-roaring derby at Dalymount Park, St Patrick’s, who played with 10 men for 75 minutes, were inches from snatching a point late on.
The sides swapped goals inside a frenetic opening three minutes.
Paddy Kavanagh’s left wing cross was met by Ismahil Akinade whose thumping header gave Bohemians the lead.
St Pat's were level 60 seconds later as Christy Fagan collected Michael Barker's pass to drill a shot under Shane Supple.
Bohemians regained the lead on 16 minutes; Akinade powering through on goal only to be taken down by Gavin Peers.
The St Pat’s defender saw a straight red card before Corcoran scored emphatically from the spot.
Bohs stretched their lead six minutes into the second half, Corcoran latching onto a loose ball to run in before confidently shooting past keeper Lukasz Skowron for his 15th goal of the season.
Conan Byrne gave St Pat's hope when finishing a fine move involving Killian Brennan and Barker to rifle to the net on 65 minutes.
Incredibly, St Pat’s really should have salvaged a point five minutes from time.
Conan Byrne’s low cross from the right found Fagan whose shot came back out off the crossbar - and then substitute Kurtis Byrne’s follow-up was bravely blocked by Bohs’ sipper Derek Pender. It wasn’t to be.
Shamrock Rovers 4 Finn Harps 1
Shamrock Rovers easily accounted for relegation-threatened Finn Harps to extend their buffer over fourth-placed Derry City to four points with five games left.
After Gary Shaw had given the Hoops a deserved interval lead, Brandon Miele added a second before teenage substitute James Doona bagged a five-minute brace. BJ Banda pulled one back for Harps with two minutes left.
Constant pressure from Rovers yielded an opener on 27 minutes when Shaw prodded the ball home from close-range, after Cameron King had ghosted into the penalty area and squared across the six-yard box.
Six minutes after the break, a foul on Trevor Clarke 20 yards out allowed Miele to step up and find the top corner with a textbook free-kick.
Doona replaced the injured Clarke on 61 minutes and soon made his mark. Eight minutes later, he completed a flowing move by jinking inside his marker before drilling a low shot home from 10 yards. The 19-year-old soon pounced again to connect with Ryan Connolly’s right-wing cross.
Derry City 0 Bray Wanderers 5
Derry City suffered an embarrassing defeat at Maginn Park, with Bray Wanderers putting the Candystripes to the sword for the third time this season.
And Kenny Shiels can have no complaints with this setback, the match was basically over as a contest before the break.
Bray broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when the lively Gary McCabe carried the ball forward before his incisive pass sent Aaron Greene clear - and he deftly chipped the ball over the advancing Ger Doherty.
Bray ‘keeper, Peter Cherrie kept his side in the driving seat with a superb block in the 33rd minute to deny Aaron Barry from close range following an Aaron McEneff deep cross.
At the other end, two minutes later, Derry were almost caught on the break for a second time. Darragh Noone’s heavy touch allowing Doherty to smother the ball at the vital moment.
But Bray then stunned the Maginn Park crowd in the 36th minute with the first of two goals in the space of 60 seconds.
McCabe played a one-two with Greene on the edge of the penalty area and when Greene saw Noone in acres of space, he set him up to gleefully guide the ball home.
Within one minute it was 3-0, Ryan Brennan breaking on the right and having worked his way into the penalty, the winger lashed the ball high into the Derry net.
Cherrie produced two superb saves to deny Rory Patterson and Derry continued to huff and puff, before Bray ensured their was to be no way back.
Brennan had crashed a shot against the butt of the upright following another break and as Derry struggled to clear their lines, the ball broke to McCabe who made no mistake.
Greene then hammered the final nail into the Derry coffin in the 79th minute following another break from defence to end the rout.
The home side even spurned the chance to record a consolation goal when Aaron McEneff missed a penalty in the 89th minute after Hugh Douglas impeded Lukas Schubert when inside the area. A night to forget for the hosts.