St Patrick’s Athletic and Finn Harps continue to set the pace in the Northern Elite Division, after Pats won 5-0 over Monaghan/Cavan on Tuesday night and Finn Harps beat Derry City 2-1. A hat-trick from Jake Walker plus goals from Padraig Finnerty and a cracker from Aaron McGrath secured the win.
First half goals from Jamie Browne and Niall McGinley helped Finn Harps to an important 2-1 win over Derry City at the Curragh. The result puts Declan Boyle’s side Level on points with St. Patrick’s Athletic.
The result was also noteworthy for the fact that two key players, Conor O’Reilly and Marc Walsh, were absent due to international commitments with the Republic of Ireland U16s at a tournament in Mayo.
Harps were completely on top in the first half against the Candystripes, with Browne heading home the opener before McGinley made it 2-0 with a strike from inside the penalty area. The hosts who should have been further in front allowed Derry to get a goal back before the break.
Manager Boyle wouldn’t have been too pleased with the second half display as Harps appeared lethargic and lacking the energy that got them off to such a good start against the Candystripes.
Still the Harps boys would have happy also to gain some measure of revenge having been beaten by Derry in the Mark Farren Cup last month.
Dundalk keep themselves in the hunt with a 2-0 win over Longford Town. With the win Dundalk remain just one point behind the top two. Dunila Bogdanous scored both goals for Dundalk, before then getting himself sent off for violent conduct.
Longford’s James Dermody said, “Very slow start from us allowed Dundalk to take a 2-0 lead inside 14 minutes.”
“After that we re-organised and sorted out our defensive and midfield units and started to play a small bit ourselves”
“2-0 at half time and we made three substitutions which sorted out the frailties that was there in the first half, and this gave us an opportunity to compete in the game”
“When Dundalk had a player dismissed for violent conduct we changed our shape to 1-3-4-3 to try and get back into the game, and with over 60% possession we didn’t really create any clear cut opportunities”
“Dundalk really kept a good compact shape and defended really well, especially when the where reduced to 10-men. Credit to them, they still created opportunities and kept looking to break us down in the second half”
“Our first half performance really gave us a mountain to climb but I couldn’t be prouder of the lads second half display. They showed great fight, determination and character to come back, and really should’ve scored at least one goal which would have been deserved for their efforts.”
“Based on the first half performance from us Dundalk deserved the victory”
Monaghan/Cavan followed up last week’s 2-2 draw with Derry City with another 2-2 draw, this time against Shelbourne.
Monaghan’s Paul Smyth felt his side deserved their point, “We found ourselves one down early today, but got back into the game quite quickly when we were awarded a penalty for handball. Seosamh Sheerin dispatch the penalty well.”
“We then got another penalty when our player was pulled back from a corner kick. Its unusual to see that type of penalty given but we were glad to be able to take the lead when Seosamh was able to convert his second of the game.”
“Shels equalised a minute into the second half. We were disappointed with the nature of the how we conceded and I felt that it put us out of rhythm for 10/15 minutes after that.”
“Shels had a good spell but we came back into the game and we had good chances but failed to be clinical.”
“We are happy that the lads are improving. Chris Sombete and Martynas Pilvinis were solid in the centre back positions, while I felt Oisin Brady was impressive in midfield.
Overall we are content with the result.”
Drogheda United hammered Athlone 5-2, and were 4-0 up on the half hour and this result was never in doubt.
Frank Cabraley produced a man of the match performance in the middle of the park, and striker Calum McDonell was unlucky not to score his first hat-trick for the Drogs.
The opening score came after 5 minutes when a great Cabraley pass found Ryan O’Shea who fed McDonnell who finished well to the Athlone net. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 when Cabraley slotted a great pass to put McDonnell through for goal number two.
On 20 minutes Ryan O’Shea finished off a great move which featured crisp passing from Tang, Cabraley and McNally to make the score 3-0. On the half hour Cian Hussey made it 4-0 to the Drogs and they went in ah half time with a commanding lead.
Athlone pulled goal back from a good free kick on the hour, but the Drogs scored their fifth ten minutes later when in a well-rehearsed move from a corner kick, Sam Byrne easily nodded in a header at the back post.
Athlone manager Brian McCormack said, “We travelled to United Park on saturday hoping to stop the rot after two defeats but unfortunately ran into a Drogheda Utd side bang in form.”
“Our bus was delayed in heavy traffic getting to the ground and to be honest we never really got off the bus!”
“3-0 down after 20 mins and 4-0 at the break, we gave up some very poor goals. But to be fair to Drogheda they had a game plan and played very well.”
“Time and time again their impressive no 6 punished us with diagonal balls and our defence had a bad day overall.”
“We had one or two half chances in the first half but failed to take them but overall Drogheda were much the better side and deserved their win.”
“We changed things a bit in the second half and scored two good goals through Tom O Carroll with a great free kick and Tj Cox with a neat finish. Patrick Gantly did very well for us on the right and when introduced Neil Macken was impressive in the middle.We have to stop giving away simple goals and take our chances when they arrive.We will get back to basics in training and work hard to sort it out.”