Bohemians continue to set the pace on top of the Northern Elite Division as action resumed after the mid-summer break. They came away 4-1 winners at Shelbourne as Cian Fay kept up his tremendous goal-scoring form with two goals. Jamie Hamilton and Steven Nolan also scored for Bohs, this after Jordan Kelly had the home side in front after just two minutes.
Bohemians manager Graham Lawlor, “After the mid season break you’re always anxious about how the time off will effect your team. Going into the break we had won 5 out of 5, so over that period of play you have gathered momentum from game to game and built confidence throughout the squad and don’t want that disrupted.”
“The opening period of the Shels game was frantic. Within 40 seconds we should have taken the lead and then 3 minutes later we found ourselves one down. We were fortunate, a few minutes later, not to concede another, but for some brilliant last ditch defending and a good save from Kian Clarke.”
“We soon settled into the game and once again Cian Fay found the back of the net for us. After that we started to dominate possession and create more chances. Cian notched his second of the game (and 12th of the season) and in between that Jamie Hamilton scored the goal of the game from an acute angle, when he beat the keeper with a curling left foot strike from 20 yards.”
“The fourth goal arrived in the 2nd half when Stephen Nolan broke free on the right hand side and neatly finished past the advancing Shels keeper.”
“A good win and performance and now we focus on Athlone Town next week. I’ve added Joe Breen to the team and he will be available from July 1st. Joe was an academy player with Carlisle United and has only recently returned from England, so he will add more competition to our midfield and is a great addition to the squad.”
Sligo Rovers had a very entertaining 3-2 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, despite two goals from Aidan Keena, as they moved into second in the table.
Sligo’s Brian Dorrian was extremely pleased to come away with the win. He said, “Really happy to come away from the match with the victory, in the first 25 minutes it was all Pats, they played really well. It took us until the half hour mark to get to grips with their tactics.”
“They took the lead and deservedly so. I thought we had a great shout for a penalty but the ref waved it away.”
“The second half was a lot better for us, as we played higher up the pitch and caused them problems when we broke. Our equaliser was a fortunate own goal, but the second and third were very well taken by Gary Higgins.”
“St Pats were awarded a penalty late on and put under a lot of pressure in the time that was left. We move on to Derry next week now.”
St Pats boss Garrett Dodrill said, “Once again a poor defensive display cost us. You can’t concede 3 goals and expect to get anything from the game. We went 1-0 up after 15 mins with a well taken goal from Aidan Keena and led at the break. We then conceded 2 goals from crosses and another on the break before scoring through an Aidan Keena penalty in the final minutes.”
“Sligo played well on the day and it was refreshing to see another team get the ball down and play out.
Drogheda United had a 5-2 victory over the Monaghan/Cavan football partnership. Striker Stephen Meaney, fresh off his Senior debut the night before, scored twice.
Drogheda manager Derek Boyle told us, “It was great for us to get the win with it being our first game back after the break.”
“We were a little sloppy with the ball at times but that was to be expected from the lads not having played in 5 weeks.”
“Stephen Meaney got two goals and one each for Conor Grogan, Sean Hughes and Eoin Broughan. Disappointing to give away to two goals, so some worked needed this week in training before we play Finn Harps next Saturday.
Finn Harps welcomed first-team striker BJ Banda back to U-19 action after injury, as they beat Athlone Town 2-1. Oran McConnell scored twice for Harps.
Athlone’s Mick Dolan said, “Very disappointed with yesterdays result as I felt we let the opprtunity to win the game, and restart after the break with 3 points, slip away from us through poor defending for both Finn Harps goals. We also failed to take really good opportunities ourselves.”
“It is always difficult coming back after the June break, with some players in the squad not available for training due to their Leaving Cert exam finishing dates, and others training in smaller groups as they have no exams.”
“We stated the game well and scored after 9 minutes through Paul Costello, following a great run and cutback by James Newell on the left hand side of the area. We then spurned a fantastic chance to double our lead, when Costello shot wide from a clear opportunity created by Joe Carmody’s clever pass.”
“Harps came back in to the game after 20 mins or so and equalised through their #9 but the oportunity came about from defensive errors on our left side. We continued to create opportunities down our left side but poor delivery of the final pass, or cross, restricted our goal scoring chances.”
“We spurned a great opportunity on a 3 v 2 counter-attack in the 42nd minute, after James Newell made a great interception in the centre circle and surged forward but Joe Carmody shot over from a good position.”
“Ciaran Burns and Callum Brummell replaced Carmody, who was sick all last week and Cormac Gavin at half time.”
“I felt we were the better side in the second half but poor delivery from wide areas and a lack of sharpness in front of goal meant real goal scoring chances were not created.”
“Harps lost one off their centre backs to a red card when Sean McGrane was hauled down on the edge of the D with 14 mins left. At this stage of the game we felt we could turn the screw and win the game but Finn Harps defended resolutely and frustration and poor decision making cost us the game.”
“We got away with one incident of poor defending and over committing players forward, when Jack Lydon made a good save low down to his left with 6 minutes remaining. However we didn’t escape in the 87th minute when the Harps #9 was given the freedom of the penalty box to head home from a right wing cross, following a counter-attack down Harps right side.”
“It’s all about learning at this level but the catastrophic defensive mistakes that were made for both goals conceded, would suggest there is still a huge amount of improvement required.”
“Like other clubs we will look to strengthen our squad and hope to add 2 or 3 new faces. I have released 3 players and have given a couple of our U-17’s game time in the last few games, and we have 4 players from our U-19’s with the first team match day squad in the last 6 weeks or so, which is good to see and where we want the players to progress to.”
Finn Harps manager Joe Boyle said, “It was good to get back to winning ways and the manner of the victory was even more important.”
“We had Shane Blaney and BJ Banda back after long term injuries. Unfortunately for Blaney he broke his arm after 15 minutes when he blocked an Athlone shot.”
“Oran McConnell has reaped the rewards for his hard work over the past few months with two goals and a very positive performance.”
“Mark Sparky McAteer has just returned to the club and played a key role in setting up the winner.”
“We now prepare for a home league game and an away cup game with Drogheda. These will be extremely difficult as Drogheda have been in good form of late.”
Stephen Burke (Bohemians)
Larry McQuillan (Drogheda United)
Stephen Doherty (Finn Harps)