Derry City 2 Shamrock Rovers 2
An 83rd minute Stephen McPhail’s free-kick put the smile back on the face of Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell on Tuesday night, the midfielder finding the net to break Derry City hearts in the battle for a third place finish.
However, it had looked particularly promising for Derry City, who netted two goals in the space of as many minutes in the first half, but their failure to defend cost them two points in the end.
With both teams battling for a place in the Europa League next season, just one point continues to separate the pair which guarantees an interesting end to the season for both.
The deadlock was broken in superb fashion in the 16th minute. A fluent move saw Barry McNamee find Conor McCormack and when he set-up Ronan Curtis, the lively winger curling a superb low shot into the bottom corner.
And the Brandywell erupted again within two minutes later following a corner. Lucas Schubert delivered the ball into the danger area and after Rory Patterson flicked the ball on McNamee rolled it into the path of Curtis who lashed it high into the net from close range and the home lot were on their way.
The visitors went close to reducing the deficit in the 35th minute when Dean Clarke burst into the box but his close range effort was directed at Doherty who parried the ball wide at the expense of a corner.
And the Dubliners got the goal they craved in the 38th minute. While under pressure, keeper Doherty played the ball short into the path of Aaron McEneff who lost possession in a vital area. Rovers striker, Sean Boyd, then found the unmarked Gary McCabe and the right winger made no mistake driving the ball high into the net.
With the wind at their backs after the break, Derry created a decent chance to restore their two goals cushion in the 53rd minute.
Dean Jarvis broke on the left flank and his early first time cross found the advancing McNamee but his midfielder’s header was poorly directed and a good chance was lost.
Rovers really should have been level in the 55th minute. A Simon Madden cross from the right found the well placed Gary Shaw, but he failed to hit the target from close range with time on his hands in what was an amazing miss in front of goal.
However, with seven minutes remaining, Rovers grabbed their equaliser. Dean Jarvis fouled Simon Madden on the edge of the penalty area and Stephen McPhail’s curling free found its way to the net, Derry struggling to defend the curling strike.
Derry City: Doherty; McDermott, Karner, Vemmelund, Jarvis; McCormack, McEneff; Schubert (Monaghan, 71), McNamee, Curtis (Boyle, 85); Patterson.
Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Madden, Heaney, O'Connor, T. Clarke; McCabe, McPhail, Webster, D. Clarke (Miele, 71); Boyd, Shaw (Dobbs, 77)
Referee: R. Harvey (Dublin).
St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Sligo Rovers 0
St Pat’s and Sligo Rovers had to settle for point each from this encounter at Richmond Park but the visitors will feel hard done by, having had the better of the chances from an entertaining game.
The visitors had a chance to take the lead on 17 minutes but were denied on the line by Pat's Ger O'Brien. The chance came when Tobi Adebayo-Rowling escaped the sliding challenge of Ian Bermingham and hit a low cross into the box. The ball came back out to Kieran Sadlier who smashed a low drive on target but was denied by the well-placed O'Brien.
On 22 minutes a Pat's move ended with Billy Dennehy trying his luck with a looping shot over the head of Rovers goalkeeper Ciaran Nugent. Dennehy's effort was close but it flashed wide of the top right corner.
Sligo's Gavin Peers headed Craig Roddan's cross into the path of Jimmy Keohane on 27 minutes but Pat's goalkeeper Brendan Clarke wasn't troubled by Keohane's header, which went over the bar.
Then on 42 minutes Sadlier picked out Pat McCann with a brilliant pass but under pressure from the Pat’s defence McCann sent his effort wide of Clarke’s right-hand upright.
Sligo started the second half in top gear and Sadlier drew a cracking save from Clarke on 47 minutes with a fierce shot that was punched over the bar by the Pat’s number one.
Sligo continued to have the best of the chances and Clarke tipped a rasping shot from substitute Raf Cretaro over the bar on 70 minutes.
Graham Kelly could have stolen the points for Pat's in injury time but was denied by Nugent's legs.
St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke; O'Brien, Hoare, D Dennehy (Barker 64 mins), Bermingham; Desmond, Kelly; B Dennehy (Timlin 80 mins), McGrath, Byrne; Fagan (Feely 64 mins).
Sligo Rovers: Nugent; Adebayo-Rowling, Peers (Cretaro 68 mins), Leahy, Boylan (Donelon 56 mins); Keohane, Sadlier, Roddan, McCann; Martin, Campion.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).