After a lengthy off-season, the opening weekend of this year’s SSE Airticity League First Division kicked-off with a bang. Here David Pheasey reviews all of Friday & Saturday’s action.
With a full round of fixtures played on Friday and Saturday night, UCD and Cabinteely lead after impressive wins over Cobh Ramblers and Wexford Youths respectively, while Waterford, Athlone, Shelbourne and Finn Harps all picked up solitary points.
On what was a special night in Stradbrook, Cabinteely recorded a 1-0 victory over promotion hopefuls Wexford Youths, thanks to a goal just before half time by midfielder John McKeown.
A goalmouth scramble after a Shane O’Neill corner saw John McKeown fire home the Dubliners’ first ever League of Ireland goal, to the delight of the home fans.
In the RSC a stoppage time Shane Nolan goal was enough for Waterford United to earn a point against 2013 champions Athlone Town.
The Town went ahead just before the break when a misplaced Shane Nolan back-pass was picked up by Garbhan Coughlan, who fired home from just outside the home side’s box.
The Blues showed a great fighting spirit however, and were rewarded on 92 minutes when Nolan fired home. A Jack Doherty corner found its way to the head of Shaun Corcoran who set the ball nicely for Nolan, who in-turn fired into the back of the Athlone net.
The final game of Friday night took place between Shelbourne and Finn Harps in Tolka Park. After 99 minutes of action in a heated encounter between the sides, neither were able to break the deadlock and joined Waterford and Athlone on a point a piece after the opening night.
In Saturday’s game UCD put on a masterclass as the Students ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Cobh Ramblers. Goals from Gary O’Neill, Gary Swan and Jamie Doyle saw UCD take top spot in the league standings after the opening weekend.
Cabinteely 1-0 Wexford Youths.
Waterford United 1-1 Athlone Town.
Shelbourne 0-0 Finn Harps.
Cobh Ramblers 0-3 UCD AFC.
David Pheasey, Pundit Arena