Dundalk finally lifted their Cork City curse at Oriel Park on Friday night, beating the reigning champions 1-0.
October 2016 was the last time Stephen Kenny’s side tasted victory over the Leesiders in any competition, but won the day in a lively game packed with incident.
Dundalk scored what turned out to be the winner after just four minutes. Mark McNulty spilled Ronan Murray’s free kick, and Pat Hoban was on hand to tap in from close range to put the home side ahead.
A game which saw City captain Conor McCormack sacrificed early as he threatened to let emotion get the better of him, Robbie Benson miss a second-half penalty and Dundalk miss a whole host of chances still, somehow, ended with just the one goal.
Dundalk made a serious statement against a City side forced into having an off-day, an important three points and the biggest indicator yet that the title race is going to be much more of a contest than last year’s procession.
In Tallaght meanwhile, speaking of statements of intent, Shamrock Rovers went goal-crazy for the second game in a row. Having stuck six past Bray Wanderers last week, Stephen Bradley’s men repeated that feat against Derry City.
Leading 1-0 at half time via a Graham Burke effort, there was little indication of what was to follow – but three more from Burke, with captain Ronan Finn and new signing Sean Kavanagh also chipping in, turned the match into a rout. Ronan Hale scored a consolation for Derry City in between Rovers’ fourth and fifth, but the damage was already done by then.
There was late drama at the Showgrounds as Waterford maintained their fine start to the new season. Gavan Holohan put the visitors in front ten minutes before half time, and that was how the score remained until Adam Morgan notched his third goal in as many games midway through the second half.
The game looked to be heading for a draw until new Blues signing Courtney Duffus snatched all three points right at the death, his low shot into the corner ensuring that Alan Reynolds’ side join Cork City at the top of the Premier Division table with nine points from a possible twelve.
There was no shortage of drama at Dalymount either, where Bohemians started against St. Patrick’s Athletic where they left off against Derry City – by missing a penalty. This time it was Keith Ward who was to be denied, his spot-kick coming back off the post with just six minutes on the clock – with President Michael D. Higgins among the spectators.
The deadlock was to be broken soon after, but it was to be the visitors who hit the front. Dean Clarke, an off-season signing from Limerick, scored what proved to be the winner for St. Pat’s. Liam Buckley’s side held out and now move above Bohs to sixth in the table.
Limerick bounced back from last week’s 8-0 capitulation at the hands of Dundalk by registering a 1-0 win against Bray Wanderers at Markets Field. Danny Morrissey broke the deadlock with less than ten minutes remaining just as it looked as though the game might be petering out towards a draw.
In the First Division, Cobh Ramblers came away from Stadbrook with a 1-0 win against Cabinteely in yet another incident-filled match. The two sides exchanged missed penalties early on via Marty Waters and Darren Murphy respectively (remarkably, there were four penalties awarded in the League of Ireland tonight but not one converted), before an Adam O’Sullivan header ensured that Ramblers followed up the 2-2 comeback draw at Longford with their first three points of the season.
At Belfield, Danny Furlong maintained his strong early-season form with the opener in Galway United’s trip to UCD. Shane Keegan’s side would have to settle for a point, however, as Josh Collins’ header on the half-hour mark levelled it up. 1-1 the final score.
1-1 was also the final score at Finn Park, where Finn Harps entertained Shelbourne. Michael O’Connor had the hosts in front after fifteen minutes, but a mistake at the back for the hosts allowed David O’Sullivan to slot home an even the score.
Premier Division Results:
Bohemians 0-1 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Dundalk 1-0 Cork City
Shamrock Rovers 6-1 Derry City
Sligo Rovers 1-2 Waterford
Cabinteely 0-1 Cobh Ramblers
Finn Harps 1-1 Shelbourne
UCD 1-1 Galway United
Saturday’s match sees Longford Town welcome Wexford to the City Calling Stadium, while Drogheda United host Athlone Town on Sunday to round off the weekend’s fixtures.
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