Shamrock Rovers lead the way at the top of the Southern Elite Division with three wins out of three, while in the Northern Elite Division its Dundalk on top with Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic just a point behind.
Shamrock Rovers beat Limerick 3-0 to keep their winning run going. The scoring didn’t come until the second half when Dean Williams scored.
Limerick then had a man sent off after Williams was fouled outside the box, and after that the Hoops totally dominated the game. Full credit to Limerick ‘keeper Corey McManus who denied the Hoops time and time again most notably on the hour mark when he managed to get a critical block to deny Andrew Spain a goal, and again in the same attacking movement when he somehow managed to block Williams also.
On 70 minutes it was 2-0 when Jack Kelly made a bit of space for himself on the right and took the ball into the box before picking his spot to slot the ball into the back of the net. Dean Williams, who had a smashing game, made it 3-0 on the stroke of full time.
A special mention goes today to left full Eric Abulu who had what is his best game to date in a green and white jersey.
Limerick’s Derek McCarthy said, “Very disappointed to lose by three goals. I felt when the game was 11 against 11 we matched a very good Shamrock Rovers side.”
“In the first half both teams had chances to take the lead but a draw at half time was about fair on the balance of play.”
“The sending off of Keith Ryan early in the second half swung the game in Rovers favour. Despite having more chances and possession I’m disappointed in the goals we gave away as a team.”
“We need to start learning to defend better, and it will be something we will focus on in training in the coming weeks.”
“Darragh Lowth was again a great example to the group on the fitness needed to perform at this level. He worked tirelessly up and down the right side for the 90 minutes.”
Dundalk beat Drogheda United by three goals to nil as they remain unbeaten this season. The goals came from Chris McFadden, Luke Doherty and Luke Gorham.
We spoke to Drogheda United coach Gerard Gosson afterwards and he said, “I was very disappointed yesterday, particularly with our 1st half performance. We new how Dundalk would play, direct in possession, pressed high when out of possession and very dangerous on set pieces.”
“We never got going in the 1st half. we gave away possession far too often and when we tried to win it back we gave away a number of soft free kicks which eventually cost us the game.”
“The first goal came from a poor tackle outside the box, our keeper Danny Grace made a great save from the free kick turning it around the post for a corner which in turn resulted in the first goal when we didn’t deal with the cross in.”
“Dundalk picked up on the fact we were struggling to get going and pressed right up on us. The second goal came from arguably a very soft penalty decision.”
“Half time came and we had a strong debrief and put the focus on getting our passing game going which would be the teams strength. We made 4 substitutes at half time to try get the next goal, and credit to the players we got the reaction we needed, particularly from new signing Frankie Cabraley who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and caused Dundalk a number of problems.”
“We dominated the majority of the second half, keeping possession well and created a couple of decent chances, but credit to Dundalk they were well organised and made it hard to get the goal we chased.”
“As we pushed on and brought on another attacker it left us a little open at the back, and Dundalk got a well worked counter attacking goal late in the game. The game finished 3-0 and Dundalk deserved the win in the end.”
“Massive learning curve for my players, but our sole focus is on development so hopefully we can correct the poor parts of the game that affected us yesterday and continue to work on the positives that came through in the second half.
St Patrick’s Athletic were the visitors to the Athlone Town Stadium on saturday and left with all three points after a 3-1 win. In a tough opening half for the home side Jamie Moore’s side were physically stronger and dominant in possession.
Athlone Manager Brian McCormack said, “We were unhappy with our first half as we sat back and allowed St Pats dominate the pace and they are a very good side who will punish you. Going in two nil down at the break we felt both goals, although good finishes, were ones we should have coped with. We failed to deal properly with the initial build up play and were a bit casual in our pressing of play which is normally our strength.”
The second half was much better from the home side and although Pats scored quite early in the half, Athlone came very much into the game and finished very strongly. Tom O Carroll scored with a very cool finish after some great passing and movement-Peter Gillooly with super wing play and a great assist.
McCormack continued, “We would have to be very happy with our attitude and committment in the second half, going three nil down we could have dropped our heads and let Pats over run us, but we re-grouped and gave it a right good go. We had good strikes from Callum McIlvey and Brendan Berry and had one of those gone in, who knows?”
“A tough lesson against a well organised Pats side but we are very happy with our progress and structure, as we are a young side coming together and will look forward to our next outing away to Derry City.”
“The centre-back partnership of Evan Fahy and Keith Rushe were outstanding and midfield trio of Ciaran Burns, Niall Higgins and Brendan Berry did very well.”
“Also a shout out for ref Ray Conlon and his assistants who let the game flow and did very well.”
St Pats manager Jamie Moore was delighted, “Really happy with another good performance on Saturday. We were really good for the first hour and got ourselves 3-0 up in the 48th minute. We dropped off a little then and let Athlone back into the game. Thankfully we finished the game strongly in the end.”
On Anto Purdy, who scored twice in the game Moore said, “Anto scored two excellent goals. He actually promised me he’d score twice on the bus on the way down and kept his word. He’s a fox in the box type striker and both goals were real strikers finishes. He almost scored his third just after half time too.”
“Anto and Jake Walker are our two strikers. We usually play 4-3-3 with one up front, so there’s good competition for places in that position. Jake and Anto are good mates but know they are in competition with each other which will push them both on.”
He also spoke about what’s ahead for his young charges saying, “We’re looking ahead now to the Derry game on Saturday, before we play the Ireland U-16s next Tuesday.”
“Derry are a strong physical team. I know their Manager Gary Duffy well, we did our UEFA A Licence together. They’ll be well organised and also have lots of very good players, so we’ll need to perform as we have in the first two games. If we do, we’ll have a good chance to win the game.”
Finn Harps got their first win with a 4-0 win over Longford Town. Harps started really well and dominated the first half. They took the lead in the 20th minute which they well deserved.
Only for an outstanding display in goals by Rhys Murphy Monaghan it could have been 4-0 at half-time. Instead it was only 1-0 to Finn Harps.
Second half and Longford started to play and were unlucky not to have pulled something back in the opening 20 minutes. However Finn Harps took control again and scored three more goals in the closing 10 minutes.
Longford manager James Dermody said. “Finn Harps were the better team and deserved the 4-0 win today. Well done to the head coach and his team”
“My squad really need to learn from this experience and ensure that they play at 100% from the start. Too many players started way too slow and let the opposition dictate the pace of the game”
“I say this every week, win, lose or draw, it’s always about the development of these players, 6 players born in 2001 and one born in 2002 played today, so thats a great learning for them, and I hope they evaluate their own performance and note what went well and what the can improve on”
Finn Harps boss Declan Boyle said, “Overall very happy to get off the mark and secure three points. To score four goals at home and not concede any goals was very satisfying.”
“The lads played well in spells throughout the game and created a lot of chances especially in the first half, but for good defending and excellent goal keeping on the day, the score could have been a lot greater.”
“The score was one nil at half time, and the goal was scored by James Carolan, who on the day scored a hat-trick and played very well. The first goal was a good through ball on the right hand side, flicked on by Conor Reilly and James Carolan ran on into the space and slotted past the advancing Longford goalkeeper.”
“The second goal was a ball over the top, their keeper came out and cleared it under pressure from Mark Walsh and James Carolan reacted the quickest to volley it into an empty net.”
“The third goal was a good team move, involving our right full Lee Mc Laughlin and our midfielder Coree lee Bogan, and after a good run and cross by attacking full back Lee Mc Laughlin, and James Carolan passed it into the net at the near post.”
“The last goal was a left sided corner taken by Coree lee Bogan that was volley home at the back post by Odhragh McGuinness.”
“Overall the score flattered us a bit, Longford worked very hard and made it very difficult for us for long periods and probably our overall fitness level was the difference at the end.”
“For Finn Harps on the day, James Carolan, Jack o Donnell, Keenan Diver and Mark Walsh played well.”
Bray Wanderers and Cobh Ramblers played out a five-goal thriller on Tuesday night as Bray came out on top 3-2. Bray had built up a 3-0 lead before the hour mark, until Cobh substitute Loic Nguefang made an entrance. Two goals in four minutes almost turned the game around, but the visitors held on.
Cobh’s manager Damien Rowe said, “After a loss tonight it would be hard not to be negative but a lot of positives from the second half performance.”
Three soft goals on our part, and its an area that needs attention for us at the moment. Three subs on the hour mark had an immediate impact.”
“We had Jaze Kabia linking with Luke Quinn down the left to cross for Loic Nguefang to tap into the net. Then four minutes later on the right side Cameron Harlson and Nathan O’Connell linked up well for Nathanto cross for Loic’s second.”
“We were well on top now and pushing, but we just couldnt take chances to complete the comeback.”
“Best for us on night were Nathan O’Connell and Loic Nguefang.”
We spoke to Cobh’s Loic Nguefang after the game. He said, “Yeah we started the game very slowly as we conceded within three minutes, and I thought a few heads went down.”
“After that as we conceded another two sloppy goals, but the heads started lifting when the first three changes were made. I was happy to come on and get a goal with my first touch and to get another a few minutes later.”
“I think we need to regroup and work on things we lack in our game for the next games.”
He’s really enjoying his time at Ramblers saying, “I’m finding Cobh Ramblers really welcoming, as we have a great chairman, coaches and a friendly squad which is what you want at a club. I’m enjoying my time here.”
Here’s an video interview Loic did with club after the game;
The Kerry League picked up their first point with a 1-1 draw with UCD.
Kerry boss Darren Aherne said afterwards, “I’m delighted to get the first point of the season, which is also the first point away at U-17 Airtricity League level for the team”
“Points on the road are hard earned for us and we absolutely deserved this point. To be honest I’m a little disappointed to not have won the game,”
“The team put in a very disciplined performance, defended well and looked to hit UCD on the counter-attack which was the game plan.”
“We will now try to use this as a platform to progress our season, with Cabinteely at home on the 23rd our next fixture with hopefully another big crowd at Mounthawk Park.”
Sligo hammered Monaghan/Cavan 5-1 to register their first win.
Sligo boss Danny O’Leary said, “We had a good couple of weeks training leading up to the game as our game versus drogheda was called off last weekend, and our lads were looking forward to the game.”
“It was a competitive game, played and refereed very well. Our starting 11 featured three 15 year-old’s and five players getting their first starts in the Under 17 league.”
“We went 1-0 up in the first half with a strike from Seamus Keogh, and created a few other chances but didn’t take them.”
“We gave possession away too often in the first half maybe due to nerves and we gave a penalty away with 10 minutes left of the first half which Monaghan /Cavan scored.”
“We spoke at half time about keeping possession of the ball a little better and the boys did that in the second half.”
“The boys played very well in the second half and controlled the game with goals from Liam Kerrigan, Mark Byrne (2) and Cian McAllister. Overall the boys played well trying to keep possession and created plenty of chances.”
Waterford inflicted a heavy 5-2 defeat on Galway United as they kept up their unbeaten start to the season. Waterford had five different goalscorers in the game, something that pleased coach Gary Hunt.
Jack Larkin scored straight from a corner on right side before turning provider for Greg Waters to head home from his corner. Lee Costello finished off at the back post following a fine sweeping move down the right. The Cross was supplied by Regix Madika.
Galway scored a penalty just after the hour mark to make it 3-1 before they were reduced to ten-men on 68 minutes. Mike Nzongong and Torik Adegoke made it 5-1 late on before Galway got a consolation in added time.
Waterford coach Gary Hunt said after the game,”Going into the game we lost regular front man Ciaran Brennan to illness, but credit to the others who stepped up to the plate. Five different scorers and not including 4-goal Oison Knox from the previous game also.”
“We knew we had a couple of weeks before playing Bray on the 30th so we wanted to make sure we picked up a positive result.”
“There were some very good performances throughout the team including Kallum Broaders who is improving with every game, while Colm Whelan came back into the first 11 and really put his stamp on the game.
Galway’s Alan Murphy felt his side struggled physically saying, “The Waterford game was an eye opener for the players in terms of the physicality and intensity needed to compete at this level.”
“We conceded twice from set pieces early which gave us a huge task going forward in the game. We changed formation and were the better side for the last 15 mins of the 1st half.”
“Second half was much the same with Waterford physically dominating the game.”
“Players that impressed me for Waterford were, Oisin Knox who led the line excellently with Greg Waters who anchored down their midfield well. Regix Madika was a constant threat on the wing.”
“On our side, Adam Rooney was excellent throughout and did exceptionally well to ensure Knox didn’t get his goal on the day.”
“We have a huge opportunity to learn lessons from this game and move forward to the next challenge of UCD.”
Cabinteely had a superb 2-1 win over Cork City.
A disappointed Cork boss Brendan O’Sullivan said, “It was a very scrappy game overall on a tight Astro pitch which made it hard to play the type of football we wanted to play.”
“Cian Murphy scored again, he has now scored all our goals this season which is great for him but a worry overall as after three that games no other player has scored.”
“When you are 1-0 up away from home for most of the game, it is obviously very frustrating to lose the match in the last few minutes, especially in the manner we did.”
“We conceded the equaliser from nothing really, a slip from one of our defenders was capitalised on by the Cabinteely forwards to score, although there is absolutely no doubt the goal should not have counted as the player who tapped in on the goal line was unquestionably offside.”
“We conceded again moments later when the same defender who had the slip leading to the equaliser scored a very unfortunate own goal with only a few minutes of the match remaining.”
“It was tough to take but at the end of the day it will be a serious learning lesson for our lads. We had warned them that if you drop your standards by even 10% then you will be punished in this league.”
“With no game next week, it will be a long time before we can remedy this poor result but on the other hand it gives us time to correct things on training pitch.”
“Centre backs Jack O’Sullivan, Jamie O’Sullivan and goalkeeper Patryk Osinski all acquitted themselves very well and this was a positive to take from the game.”
“We will be hoping to get back to winning ways at home to Cobh Ramblers in two weeks time however you can take nothing for granted in a local derby.”
Shelbourne and Derry city played out a 1-1 draw.
Robert Goggins (Shamrock Rovers)
St Patrick’s Athletic