A second-half strike from Pat Hoban saw Dundalk pick up a significant win over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght on Sunday.
It was a largely disappointing game, with the hosts struggling to find the creativity necessary to trouble the leaders. The win caps an excellent week for Dundalk who comfortably came through their European tie last Thursday. The Lilywhites have now gone twelve games unbeaten in all competitions and they won’t fear Hajduk Split in the next round of the Europa League.
Rovers will be very disappointed at missing the opportunity to close the gap to the leaders as they are now six points adrift of Dundalk and Cork. They need to keep the pressure on with a win at Bray on Friday.
Meanwhile, Cork City scored a late winner at Drogheda to keep up their impressive form. Drogheda had the Leesiders under pressure for large parts of the game and were unlucky not to take the lead when Gavin Holohan hit the bar early in the second half. However, the introduction of Liam Kearney and John O’Flynn saw City improve before Garry Buckley scored the 81st minute winner.
It was City’s sixth clean sheet in a row and their seventh win in eight games as they continue to keep the pressure on Dundalk. The Drogs’ performances are improving and they will feel they deserved something for their efforts. They will hope City do them a favour by beating UCD next week.
Derry City’s revival under Peter Hutton is in full swing as they thrashed Bray 5-0 at the Brandywell. Patrick McEleney bagged a hat-trick, including another wonder goal, while Rory Patterson and debutant Stephen Dooley also got on the scoresheet.
Derry have won four on the spin in all competitions scoring 15 and conceding none in the process. They face Belarusian opposition in FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Thursday in the Europa League where they will hope to maintain their recent form.
Bray Wanderers slide continues, as Alan Matthews’ side’s winless run stretches to eight matches in all competitions. The Seagulls have conceded 16 in their last four games, a trend that has coincided with Danny O’Connor’s retirement. Fixtures against MK Dons, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers will do little to cheer up supporters and they need to find form soon or risk slipping behind their relegation rivals; especially as two of those rivals managed to pick up crucial victories last weekend.
A resurgent Athlone Town beat Limerick 3-0 thanks to first half goals from Phillip Gorman (2) and Kealen Dillon. Their third home win in four games sees them stay in touch with the clubs above them and they don’t look like the relegation certainties they did a few months ago. Limerick parted with Stuart Taylor during the week and the club seem to be stagnating after a promising spell.
UCD picked up a much needed win at home to Sligo thanks to a second minute strike from Samir Belhout. The Students capitalised on a desperate performance from the Setanta Cup winners to end run of seven games without a win. The three points sees them keep Athlone at bay for the time being. Sligo’s domestic season is effectively over and they will throw everything at Rosenborg in the Europa League.
Possibly the best game of the week came at Dalymount Park where Bohemians played out an entertaining draw with St. Pats. The Champions took the lead through Mark Quigley, but Bohs had the better of the play for most of the derby. Eoin Wearen equalised before half time after good work by Roberto Lopes.
However, as so often this season, Bohs couldn’t find the clinical edge necessary to pick up the win and the search for a home win this season goes on. Owen Heary’s team are now six unbeaten in all competitions and a trip to the Showgrounds next week will hold no fear for them.
St. Pats’ poor away form is holding them back. They are now six without an away win and they are six points behind the leaders having played a game more. They travel to Legia Warsaw on Wednesday for a Champions League qualifier and will hope to find that elusive away performance. The Irish sides have done well in Europe so far, so hopefully Pats can continue to trend.
Airtricity Premier Division Results 11th/13th July:
Athlone Town 3-0 Limerick
Drogheda United 0-1 Cork City
Bohemians 1-1 St. Pats
UCD 1-0 Sligo Rovers
Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Dundalk
Derry City 5-0 Bray Wanderers
Simon Bracken, Pundit Arena.