The biggest result of the weekend saw Cork City lose vital ground in the title race with a 2-0 defeat at Dalymount Park as Bohemians finally picked up their first home win of the season.
Steven Beattie opened the scoring after six minutes and the Dublin side dominated proceedings from there on. With twenty minutes to go Brian Lenihan suffered a frightening injury when he fell on his head which saw Cork reduced to ten men for the remainder. Luckily, the talented youngster has been discharged from hospital and should be available for selection in two-three weeks.
Bohs sealed the win with a goal from Eoin Wearen to finally get a home victory at the 11th attempt. Thankfully Lenihan has been discharged from hospital but the defeat comes at a bad time for Cork who face title rivals Dundalk at Turner’s Cross on Friday.
Dundalk on the other hand travel to Cork off the back of three wins in a week. Having nearly pulled off a miracle in Croatia on Wednesday the comfortably saw off struggling Bray 5-1 at Oriel Park on Sunday. Richie Towell scored early before braces from Pat Hoban and Kurtis Byrne saw the Lilywhites home. Stephen Kenny’s side sit three points clear of Cork with a considerably better goal difference. A victory on Friday would go a long way towards securing the title.
Bray’s slide continues with their losing run extended to six after the Dundalk defeat. They face a vital relegation encounter with Athlone on Friday.
Another relegation battler, Drogheda, produced their best result since the opening day with a shock 1-0 win at Shamrock Rovers. Trevor Croly’s side have failed to convince against the lesser sides all season and that failing was exposed by Grant Holohan’s first half winner. Rovers pushed for an equaliser in the second half but couldn’t find a way past Michael Schlingermann. The defeat is Rovers’ third in the last four home games, a run which has effectively derailed their title challenge. Drogheda meanwhile have found some form and are now ten points clear of the drop.
Derry City were the top scorers of the weekend, demolishing UCD 6-1 at Belfield. Michael Duffy bagged a hat-trick while Rory Patterson got two as the Candystripes romped to victory. The win was an encouraging response to their midweek drubbing in Europe and stretched their unbeaten domestic run to five games. UCD will be very disappointed to see their recent improvement evaporate and will look to respond on Friday in Drogheda.
St. Pats put their European disappointment behind them with a much needed away win at Athlone. Goals from Chris Forrester and Sean Hoare gave the Champions their first win on the road since April and kept their faint hopes of retaining the title alive. Athlone meanwhile will travel to Bray believing they can get a positive result, hoping to improve on a run of one win in five matches.
Sligo Rovers who unfortunately couldn’t capitalise on their impressive win in Norway did enough to overcome Limerick at the Showgrounds in the weekend’s final fixture. Sean Maguire and Danny North struck in the last five minutes to finally breakthrough stubborn Limerick resistance and give John Coleman’s men the three points. Following their European exit though Sligo have little to play for and may already be thinking about next season.
Limerick’s form has hit a slump which they will hope to end in the coming home matches with Shamrock Rovers and Bray. They are still vulnerable to a relegation play-off and will need a few more positive results under new manager Martin Russell.
Simon Bracken, Pundit Arena.
Airtricity Premier Division results July 25-27:
Bohemians 2-0 Cork City
Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Drogheda United
Athlone Town 0-2 St. Pats
UCD 1-6 Derry City
Dundalk 5-1 Bray Wanderers
Sligo Rovers 2-0 Limerick