A fascinating weekend of League of Ireland action took place…
Shelbourne’s remarkable winning streak continued during the weekend’s games, as it extended to a fourth win in a row after two successive wins over the weekend.
St Patrick’s Athletic and UCD succumbed to the Reds’ recent surge, while Shamrock Rovers and Derry City stumbled, with the latter watching their title chase unravel at a pace of knots.
At the bottom of the table, Drogheda United are beginning to pull clear of UCD and Finn Harps, while in the First Division, Galway United are now top after Cork City’s recent wobble.
Here’s what we learned from the League of Ireland over the last few days.
Derry City’s title charge is running out of steam.
A tough run of games aside, Derry City’s much spoken about title chase is beginning to unravel as quickly as it started earlier this season.
Two defeats over the weekend have seen them slip further behind Shamrock Rovers, with Dundalk starting to heap the pressure on the Candystripes in third.
Incredibly, their recent form has seen them fall back to last in the form table, picking up just two points from their last five games.
🎥 Been a long night waiting for this to drop 👇
Touch, Composure, Finish 🤌
Seamas Keogh 👏 pic.twitter.com/8i040ttna7
— Sligo Rovers (@sligorovers) May 24, 2022
The most recent defeat saw them lose away to Sligo Rovers, thanks to a Seamas Keogh winner at the death. It could have been worse although, was it not for a defeat for Shamrock Rovers away to Drogheda United.
In fact, it is more galling for Ruaidhri Higgins’ side that they could not close the gap on Rovers, even if it was only by a point. Derry need to get a win on the board sooner rather than later.
Shelbourne are charging towards the European places.
In the Premier Division, Damien Duff’s Shelbourne have catapulted themselves right into the European football conversation after their recent run of good results.
The Reds defeated Sligo Rovers and Drogheda United prior to the weekend’s games, and two more wins on the spin have put them firmly in the mix.
Seeing off St Patrick’s Athletic and UCD on Friday and Monday respectively, Duff’s young guns are now just four points behind the Saints who occupy fourth in the Premier Division table. They also have a game in hand on their Dublin rivals.
Every week, this Shels side is improving, and with the likes of Sligo, Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic stuttering, there is no reason why the Tolka Park outfit can not dream of a European tour during Duff’s tenure.
Meanwhile, the gap at the foot of the Premier Division is growing between Drogheda and Finn Harps, with Kevin Doherty’s side moving nine points clear of Ollie Horgan’s side.
𝙒𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘿𝙧𝙤𝙜𝙝𝙚𝙙𝙖 𝙐𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙬𝙚 𝙜𝙤
Drogheda United 1-0 Shamrock Rovers
Ryan Brennan’s first half header sees Drogs take all three points.
— Drogheda United F.C. (@DroghedaUnited) May 23, 2022
While not entirely unexpected, the size of the gap at the bottom is one to be of major concern for Harps and UCD at this very early stage.
Cork City stumble in the League of Ireland First Division.
While there was plenty of movement in the Premier Division, Cork City’s title chase took a setback of sorts over the weekend, drawing 1-1 at home to Wexford.
Most sides have struggled on their return from a bye week, with Cork dropping most, if not all of their points so far after a week off. Friday was no different.
It’s our last game before the mid-season break, and it’s 𝐇𝐔𝐆𝐄.
— Cork City FC (@CorkCityFC) May 23, 2022
As they dropped points, City’s closest rivals Galway United picked up a win against Athlone Town, moving two points clear at the top, ahead of their upcoming clash at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday evening.
A win for Galway would put them five clear, and at risk of pulling clear in the title race, while a win for City would put them top. In essence, this game on Corribside is huge.