Conro Hayes discusses the latest talking points from the League of Ireland.
1. John Coleman Will Need More Results Like This
It’s hard to remember a more divisive sacking in recent League of Ireland memory than Ian Barraclough’s departure from Sligo Rovers during the mid-season break. Perhaps the club’s best known supporter, Eamon Sweeney, gave his view in the Sunday Independent describing the decision as ‘one of such mind-boggling imbecility and ignorance, it beggars belief.’
Another Sligo man, Alan Cawley was far more measured on Soccer Republic on Monday evening and appeared to put forward logical reasons for the former Scunthorpe United man’s departure, pointing to the malaise that has plagued Sligo in the league for close to eighteen months.
Whatever the arguments for or against, a new man in the shape of John Coleman has already taken the reins. Perhaps some of the unease with the departure of Baraclough comes with this appointment. The former Accrington Stanley boss last job was at Southport where he was unceremoniously booted out while the club battled relegation.
More worryingly his behaviour towards officials was said to interfere with that club’s ‘family values’. This is pretty terrifying, because once he experiences the full on omnishambles that is League of Ireland refereeing there is no telling what he might do. He actually got an appetizer on Friday against Drogheda as Sligo conceded a penalty for a foul invented inside the mind of the official.
But as the saying goes ‘winning takes care of everything’ and he secured a victory over the hapless Boynesiders in his first match in charge. If he can continue this form especially in their upcoming European tie with FK Banga, supporters upset over Barraclough’s sacking will be kept quiet.
2. St. Pats Deserve Better
St.Patrick’s Athletic beat Bray Wanderers 3-2 on Friday evening in a pulsating game and according to one source at the match there were only 780 people there to see it. For a home game of the league champions to draw such an attendance is truly depressing.
The club has not only been successful in recent times but they’re also playing a beautiful brand of attacking football that would put many clubs in England with far bigger resources to shame. A dispute between a group of Pats’ fans and their board has been part of the problem but even at their best last season crowds never reached too far above 1’500.
It’s a problem that the vast majority of clubs have but when a team such as St. Pat’s can’t get people through the gates one really begins to wonder if there’s any solution. When the holders are on form they play with a swagger and a verve that is wonderful to watch. It’s such a pity that there isn’t more people at Inchicore to do the watching.
3. Relegation Picture Getting Murkier
Athlone picked up their first away point of the season this week as they drew 2-2 at Dalymount Park. Dinny Corcoran’s missed penalty in the final stages denied what would have been a first home win of the season for Bohemians who are not yet in the clear by any means.
With the basement club making rapid improvements while Drogheda, UCD and Bray seem to be going backwards in the battle to avoid, the final two placings in the league it is set to become more intriguing as the season progresses.
One More Thing…
Robbie Horgan at Drogheda United also lost his job during the break after a disastrous run of results. Admirably, on the day of his sacking he still fulfilled a commitment he had made to volunteer at a coaching session for youngsters at Robinstown National School.
People within the league do this sort of work on a weekly basis but on that particular day, Horgan’s efforts were extra special.
Conor Hayes, Pundit Arena.