Shamrock Rovers 1 Drogheda 1
Champions Shamrock Rovers missed an opportunity to regain outright leadership of the Premier Division table in a game of two dubious penalties at Tallaght Stadium.
Five points clear at the top in early May, Rovers have now won just twice in their last eight games and remain second behind St Patrick’s Athletic on goals scored.
Utterly outplayed in the first half, Drogheda left Dublin 24 happy enough having bounced back from successive defeats.
The first half was more like the Hoops’ early-season selves as they controlled the game, taking the lead on 19 minutes after Seán Gannon went down somewhat theatrically in the box from Dane Massey’s challenge.
Graham Burke confidently sent David Odumosu the wrong way from 12 yards.
Drogheda rejigged to a 3-5-2 from the start of the second half, showing an immediate improvement.
Conor Kane shot tamely into the arms of Alan Mannus while substitute Chris Lyons blazed over after a surging run by Darragh Markey, before Drogheda's endeavour was rewarded with a penalty of their own on 63 minutes.
Again it was soft as Markey went down easily from minimal contact as he went past Burke. Lyons scored emphatically from the spot.
In a late Rovers rally, Gaffney twice worked David Odumosu before hitting a post.
Drogheda might then have snatched it themselves in stoppage time, Killian Phillips’s header looping narrowly wide from Massey’s free kick.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Hoare, Lopes, Scales; Gannon, Finn, O'Neill, Mandroiu, Greene; Burke; Gaffney.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Odumosu; Heeney, O'Reilly, Massey, Kane; Markey, Deegan, Phillips, Murray (Doyle, 56 mins); Corcoran (Clarke, 69 mins), Adeyemo (Lyons, 56 mins).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).
Waterford 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 1
St Patrick's Athletic remain top of the table despite Waterford's Shane Griffin denying them a fourth win in a row.
Matty Smith's fifth of the season put the Saints ahead on eight minutes at the RSC but they lost Alfie Lewis for a professional foul 10 minutes later and conceded Griffin's equaliser before the break.
From John Mountney's threaded pass, Ben McCormack crossed to the far post where his opposite winger Billy King arrived on cue.
Brian Murphy batted away King's close-range shot but McCormack was on hand to whip the loose ball back into the six-yard box for Smith to bundle the ball home at the second attempt.
Stephen O’Donnell’s side seemed to be well on top, only for the game to swing on a controversial red card on 18 minutes.
Lewis was far too casual trying to play out from the ball, allowing Shane Griffin to rob him of possession.
Although the West Ham United loanee impeded Griffin's charge on goal, it seemed Sam Bone was covering but referee John McLoughlin deemed Lewis to be last man and duly sent him off.
Lone striker Prince Mutswunguma was the architect of the leveller on 35 minutes.
He drifted into the box from the right past Lee Desmond and his cutback was stroked first-time into the far corner by the unmarked Griffin.
Twice in the opening seven minutes of the second half, defensive lapses nearly cost a Waterford side gradually easing their automatic relegation worries.
Murphy was relieved when Jack Stafford’s clearance ricocheted off Lennon and spun over the crossbar while the goalkeeper had to rescue Niall O’Keeffe’s mistake by denying King from 10 yards.
WATERFORD: B Murphy; D Power, K Ferguson, J Stafford (C Evans, 63 mins), J Mascoll; E Molloy, N O'Keeffe, S Griffin, A O'Reilly, J Martin; P Mutswunguma.
ST PATRICK'S ATH: V Jaros; J Mountney, L Desmond, S Bone, J McClelland; A Lewis; B McCormack (J Lennon, 21 mins), D Burns, R Benson, B King (C Forrester, 71 mins); M Smith.
Referee: John McLoughlin (Westmeath).
Dundalk 2 Derry City 1
Dundalk's mini-resurgence under Vinny Perth continued as they leapfrogged Derry City in the table with victory over the Candystripes at Oriel Park.
Goals in either half from Daniel Kelly and Patrick Hoban ensured the Co Louth side gave a good send off to long-serving captain Chris Shields – playing his last game for the club he joined in 2012 ahead of a move to Linfield.
The home side were made work hard for the result, however, after Eoin Toal pulled a goal back on the hour mark. But despite good late pressure from Ruaidhrí Higgins’s side they held out to record back to back wins for just the second time this season.
The hosts had dominated from the off but were denied by a number of top saves from Nathan Gartside, who was partially at fault for the breakthrough goal on 37 minutes.
The 23-year-old was only able to parry a long-range effort from Michael Duffy with Kelly on hand to punish the error with a tap in.
Dundalk then doubled their lead from the spot on 58 minutes when Hoban slotted home after Darren Cole was adjudged to have handled a Raivis Jurkovskis effort.
Derry responded immediately with captain Toal pulling a goal back with a header from a corner on the hour mark but despite plenty of late pressure they couldn't find an equaliser.
DUNDALK: Abibi; Jurkovskis, Boyle, Shields, Leahy (Dummigan 75); Stanton, McEleney; Kelly (Han, 63 mins), Murray (Sloggett, 63 mins), Duffy (Nattestad, 89 mins); Hoban (McMillan, 75 mins).
DERRY CITY: Gartside; Boyce, Toal, McJannett, Lafferty; Thomson, Harkin (Ferry, 81 mins); Malone (Cole, h/t), Akintunde, Fitzgerald; Parkhouse (Coll, h/t).
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).
Finn Harps 1 Longford 1
Finn Harps were held to a draw by basement side Longford Town in a well contested encounter at Finn Park.
In an end-to-end first half, Longford took the lead in the 12th minute in controversial circumstances. Dylan Grimes surged forward and let fly with a thundering shot that smacked off the crossbar, but Aaron Robinson was on hand to divert the loose ball into the path of Aaron Dobbs who fired home.
Even though an assistant referee's flag was raised for offside, referee Ben Connolly allowed the goal to stand – much to the fury of Harps.
But Harps were back on level terms five minutes later as Belgian striker Tunde Owolabi powered his way through a crowded defence before thumping the ball into the net for his second goal of the season after good work by Barry McNamee.
Adam Foley, Will Seymore, Owolabi and Shane McEleney had further chances for the home side before the break while Grimes forced Mark Anthony McGinley to go full stretch to divert the ball away from the target at the other end.
The midlanders could well have taken the lead again early in the second half when Dobbs headed just over.
Harps were awarded a 52nd-minute penalty for handball, but Barry McNamee’s spot-kick was saved by Steacy.
This result leaves the Donegal side in eighth spot, and still nine 11 points clear of the midlanders.
FINN HARPS: McGinley; Boyle, McEleney (Boyd, 74 mins), Sadiki, Dunleavy; O'Sullivan, B. McNamee, Coyle, Seymore (Barry, 63 mins); Foley, Owolabi, (Rainey, 90 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Steacy; Elworthy, J Manley, O'Driscoll, Kirk; McNally (Chambers, 84 mins), Dervin, Zambra, Robinson; Dobbs (R Manley, 78 mins), Grimes.
Referee: B Connolly (Dublin).