Bohemians, Sligo Rovers and Dundalk all sit on 16 points with Derry City just one point behind. Bohemians had a 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, Dundalk beat Longford 2-1, while Derry City were 2-0 winners over Finn Harps. Sligo Rovers had no game this weekend.
It all makes next week’s fixtures very interesting indeed, with Sligo hosting Dundalk and Bohs at home to Derry.
Bohemians won 1-0 at St Patrick’s Athletic as Jamie Hamilton’s 29th minute goal was enough for Graham Lawlor’s side. Lawlor said, “It was a hard-earned three points today against a very good St Pats side. Both sides gave everything and it lived up to a typical Dublin derby.”
“Both sides were well organised defensively and I always felt one goal would decide the game. We were a little bit fortunate with the goal that Jamie Hamilton scored, as their keeper misjudged his free kick, but it’s good to get the rub of the green sometimes and we won’t complain.”
“Jamie has featured lately with the first team and is quality from dead ball situations. His overall performance on the day was impressive.”
“As a team we were happy to record our first clean sheet of the season. I thought our goalkeeper Paul Mc Carty and the back four did really well to keep the Pats attackers relatively quiet on the day.”
“Eoghan Morgan and Dylan Thornton have also put in some fine performances lately in central midfield. Dylan was the youngest player on the pitch today but you wouldnt think it because of his competitive style of play and leadership qualities. Having Eoghan alongside him has really helped his development.”
“Today was our fourth win in a row so it shows the team is growing in confidence and belief in their game, but it’s a long season ahead and hopefully we lose players to the 1st team and have an opportunity to draft some more up from the U-17s who are also enjoying a good start to their season.”
St Pats boss Garrett Dodrill told us, “The first goal was always going to be important today. We had four good chances in the first half and didn’t take any of them, and hit the post twice during the game, so performance wise it wasn’t bad from us.”
“We dealt quite well with the constant long balls from Bohs and restricted them to very few chances.”
“To concede the goal the way we did from a free kick was disappointing. Two individual errors gifted Bohs the goal and both players need to do better.”
“We continued to get the ball down and play which was good to see but didn’t create as many chances in the second half as we would have liked.”
“It’s a learning curve for our players playing against constant long balls, but we will continue to get the ball down and play out from the back to improve players over the rest of the season.”
Dundalk had a hard fought 2-1 win over a very determined Longford Town team. Young starlet Jack O’Keffee opened the scoring for the Lilywhites.
“I felt we dominated possession without creating a huge amount of clear cut chances. We took the lead after 22 minutes when Cian Flynn played a pinpoint pass into the path of Jack O’Keffee, who rounded the keeper and finished to the net.”
“Longford nearly equalised just before half-time when from a free kick on the edge of the box home keeper Matt Lyons produced a brilliant save to preserve our lead.”
“In the second half Longford defended well and always looked dangerous on the break, and got an equaliser when they were awarded what many thought was a soft penalty in the 77th minute, which they converted.”
“From there we pushed for a winner and were rewarded in the 85th minute when a well worked free kick ended with Jack Traynor knocking down for the inrushing Aaron Townley to score.”
“We weren’t at our best on Saturday and we have been a wee bit unlucky lately with injuries, and unfortunately picked up another on Saturday when our goalscorer Aaron Townley picked up a fractured arm during the game. But Longford made it difficult and are a real threat on the break with a lot of pace throughout their side. As for us we move on to Sligo on Sunday and see what players we have available.”
Longford’s Graham Kane was very disappointed saying, “Overall I am disappointed that we didn’t get something from the game today against Dundalk.”
“The game started off with Dundalk looking to dictate, which we prepared for, so it was important we were setup defensively.”
“The game settled down and we looked to get on the ball and play as much as we could and thought we did it well at times.”
“Early in the game we give away a really sloppy goal from our point of view and went 1-0 down. We began to get a foothold in the game and created some good chances, but we need to show a little bit of composure in the final third to turn them chances into goals.”
“Dundalk put us under a lot of pressure with a flurry of corners, which to be honest, we need to defend better. Giving away free chances from set plays isn’t good enough, and on another day Dundalk could have been out of sight.”
“We rode our luck and regrouped at half-time. In the second half I thought we were excellent, much more rhythm to our play, moving the ball quicker in the final third and caused Dundalk problems.”
“On 78 minutes we got a penalty from Conor Keenan who worked hard chasing down a ball back to the keeper. Conor Cummins equalised with the penalty.”
“We were on top and created a great chance with Dan Beya getting one against one in behind their centre-back and again needed to show little bit of composure in front of goal.”
“With just three minutes left in the game we give away a needless set piece which to be fair to Dundalk punished us for it. We could say it was a well worked set play from Dundalk, but we need to defend it better. There was no pace on the cross but our player got caught underneath the ball. The ball then goes across the 6 yard box and Dundalk had a tap in. We need to defend the situation a lot better going forward.”
“But it’s important too that we are improving every game. The players work really hard each week to improve and if we are learning every week that is my main job. However we also need to learn how to defend set plays and manage games a lot better.”
“It’s a good group of players that have the potential to progress as players, with the main aim progressing to the 1st team which players already have this season. Dan Beya featured in pre-season and Aodh Dervin was on the bench 8 times this season. He was also on the bench last night against Waterford so that is my objective, to progress players to Alan’s squad and if we keep working hard and the players work hard that pathway is there for them.”
Derry City had a 2-0 win over Finn Harps as Donegal lads Cathal Farren and Adrian Delap were on the mark at Wilton Park.
Farren gave the Candystripes the lead and Delap doubled that advantage seven minutes before the interval.
Derry’s John Quigg said, “Delighted with they way the boys played yesterday in a very good game, not much between the two teams.”
“Cathal Farren was man of match and he made the difference, scoring and settting up young Delap. A good performance and hopefully we’ll take it on to next week against Bohemians.”
Cathal Farren goal
Joe Boyle’s Finn Harps squad had been stretched to the limit in recent weeks due to injuries resulting in four successive defeats.
Finn Harps boss Joe Boyle told us, “In the last few weeks the team have had a tough run of results that has not reflected the hard work of the players.”
“To everyone’s credit the team spirit has remained high and we are hoping to have a few players return from injury for the Shelbourne match next week. All players should be fit and well following the break.”
Drogheda United had goals from Lee Partridge and Stephen Meaney to thank for their 2-0 victory over Athlone Town.
Drogheda manager Derek Boyle said, “It was a good battle, I felt we fully deserved the win and three points. Lee Partridge scored the first goal, and that’s 3 goals in 3 games for him.”
“We had a few chances to get our second but their keeper did well on a few occasions. Stephen Meaney did get the second goal late on, which was a piece of pure quality from him.”
“They had a chance to get one back in the dying moments but the keeper Dylan pushed the centre forward wide enough for him put his shot wide.”
Shelbourne had a big win over injury ravaged Monaghan/Cavan by seven goals to nil.
Shelbourne boss boss Wayne Groves said, “We played very well against a very hard working Monaghan team. We started at a great tempo but it was a set piece that got the break through. A great delivery by Dylan Grimes and great finish from James Brown.”
“Our second goal was another set piece from Dylan Grimes with a great free kick. Further goals followed from Ali Reghba, two each from Jordan Kelly and Sean Cronin, one goal from 30 yards out which was a great strike worthy of winning any game. It was nice to get the win after recent results.”
Stephen Burke (Bohemians)