Bohemians 1 Shamrock Rovers 3
A first win in this, most bitterly contested of derbies in six attempts leaves Shamrock Rovers sharing top spot in the league table and, just as important, looking like a team entitled to think of themselves as title contenders once again.
After a poor start to the new season they have found higher gears and, with them, goals in the two games since. Here, Bohemians tested them every inch of the way in a high octane and entertaining contest that Rovers won due to a mix of character and class.
They led early on and might have faded when the home side battled their way back into things but in a five minute burst late on they simply blew their rivals away.
There’ll be tougher to come ahead but passing this one augers well for the months ahead.
While the energy of this young Bohemians side is undoubtedly impressive, the players sometimes seemed to struggle with the pace they were mainly responsible for setting. Off the ball, things went well enough with Paddy Kavanagh showing the way as he chased everything and closed everyone down but when in possession he was as guilty as his less experienced teammates of carelessness; tripping over the ball or leaving it behind when, having gained possession, he tried to burst forward into space.
The edge to it all was apparent in the homeside's tackling, with Kavanagh involved on this front too when he was booked midway through the first half for a painful looking one on Ryan Brennan. By that stage, though, the locals were already chasing things with Rovers, far more composed in their own approach work, picking up a penalty for a Jack Memery trip on Gary McCabe, who picked himself up to rather coolly send Dean Delany the wrong way.
Most of what followed from Trevor Coly's was, in fact, a little more composed than what they were faced with but their finishing was an exception and a couple of fine passing moves late in the first half, each of which ended with a decent cross from Simon Madden, should have come to more.
A goal on either occasion might have knocked some of the spirit out of the locals; players and supporters alike, but instead they pressed on, knowing that the visitors only had to let their guard for a minute.
They came close with 10 minutes of the first half remaining when Craig Walsh's doggedness eventually led to a chance for Kevin Devaney that skimmed the top of the crossbar and probably should have had their equaliser when, a minute after coming on, Jason Byrne was sent racing clear only to see his first shot come straight back off Barry Murphy and the second, much weaker follow-up, turned around the post.
For the scale of their effort alone, though, they deserved a breakthrough and it came with just over an hour played at which point a Rovers player finally slipped under pressure, Conor Kenna turning Derek Pender's cross into his own net from five yards as all around him seemed to be beating an uncontrolled retreat.
In many derby games both teams might have started winding down at that point in anticipation of settling for the draw.
Maybe that's what Bohemians were actually at, although it is probably to flatter them, as they allowed a succession of Rovers players an acre of space on the edge of their area. With a quarter of an hour to play, Madden once again picked out Ciaran Kilduff who this time headed into the path of Ronan Finn who nodded the ball home from a couple of yards.
Bohemians suddenly had to crank things up but within a couple minutes they were undone again with newly arrived substitute Stephen Traynor giving the ball away down the home side's right flank from where Rovers quickly switched it and Madden capped a magnificent performance with a brilliant curling cross that Kieran Waters headed home with what may well have been his first touch of the game.
He, like many of the new arrivals, seems to be settling in nicely.
Drogheda United 1 Derry City 1
Despite taking the lead, Drogheda United were fortunate to emerge from United Park with a point after their clash with an impressive-looking Derry side.
Roddy Collins’s charges had much the better of the opening half, but couldn’t make their dominance count.
The second period was just 50 seconds old when Drogheda hit the front. Michael Duffy failed to clear a back-post cross from the Drogheda right, and Michael Daly showed great athleticism to volley into the top corner from close range.
Derry pressed for an equaliser and went close through Rory Patterson before captain Clff Byrne fired home from six yards after an almighty scramble from a Candystripes corner.
Derry had the ball in the net again on 80 minutes, when Patterson finally looked to have turned his fortunes around, but his joy was cut short by a linesman’s flag
UCD 2 Athlone Town 1
A delightful solo goal from Ayman Ben Mohamad capped UCD's first points of the season to lift them clear of the foot of the table.
The 19-year-old winger struck four minutes into the second half to double the Students’ lead as Athlone slumped to a third successive defeat to leave them rooted to the bottom.
In a slalom run from the halfway line, Mohamad cut past two Athlone defenders in from the left before clipping the ball over keeper Paul Skinner for a fine first league goal of his career.
Philly Gorman’s towering 70th minute header from skipper Alan Byrne’s cross got newly-promoted Athlone back into the game after Robbie Creevy’s glancing header gave UCD the lead.
Cork City 3 Bray Wanderers 1
Cork City were comfortable winners over Bray Wanderers at Turner’s Cross.
Leading 1-0 at half-time thanks to John Kavanagh's goal, the hosts weathered what Bray had to throw at them early in the second half before Billy Dennehy doubled the lead, converting a penalty and Garry Buckley wrapped things up late on.
David Scully scored a late Bray goal a consolation for Bray.