Sligo Rovers remain joint-top of the Norther Elite Division after a 2-1 victory over the Monaghan/Cavan Partnership in Gortakeegan. Iarlaith Connor scored twice for the bitored in a hard-fought victory. It was Sligo’s third win in a week for Brian Dorrian’s lads.
Monaghan/Cavan’s Robert McQuillan told us, “Overall we are dissappointed not to get something from the game today. We took the lead midway through the first half with a fine strike from Tautyvdas Semelevicius, however Sligo got back on level terms minutes later when we failed to deal with a cross into our box.”
“Sligo are a big side and are very effective from set pieces, especially crosses, and its something we had worked on during the week.”
“We had to defend for a lot of the game and I was happy with how the lads coped against a well organised Sligo side who like to play and move the ball very well.
Unfortunately we conceded a second goal in first half stoppage time. Our keeper dropped a speculative shot which fell to the feet of the Sligo striker who tapped the ball in from a couple of yards out. It was a poor goal to concede especially just before half time.”
“We were far better in the second half but failed to create much in the final third. In form striker Nonso Nzewi, who has been out injured for the past few weeks, came on for the final 15 minutes but we didnt manage to get him on the ball enough to trouble the Sligo back line. However its great to have him back on the pitch as he was a big loss against Longford last week.”
“Overall the lads are improving every week, we have been competitive and have picked up a couple of points on the road. We have pushed both Bohs and Sligo in recent weeks to within a single goal in Gortakeegan.”
“Although recent performances have been decent we now need to start getting some points on the board especially at home.”
“Trevor Matthews got his first start for us today after Dillon Kelly pulled up in the warm up. For me Trevor was one of our best players today, we signed him recently and although he is still under 17 has come straight into our panel and looks really good in training. It’s great to see young players taking their chance when they get it and we now have real competition for places in the squad.”
Check out Iarlaith Connor’s 2 goals here;
— Brian Morahan (@Ballinagare) July 29, 2017
Sligo’s Brian Dorrian said, “Another good win on the road. Monaghan/Cavan took the lead after 15 minutes, when they caught us while we were playing out. We then drew level from a set piece and Iarlaith Connor finished well.”
“He got his second when their goalkeeper spilled the ball and Iarlaith again finished well.”
“In the second half we controlled the game and had other chances but the game filtered out.”
“That was our third game in 6 days so it was important to freshen the team up. Also we were without 5 players that were involved with our first team last night, so this gave us a chance to give others a good run out.”
“During the week we also lost 2 from the squad that left, and Mikey Place has left for Derry City. Regarding Mikey, I think it’s a step he thought he needed to push his career on, so we wish him well.”
Finn Harps had a big win over Longford Town, as they ran out 5-1 winners. Senior team members BJ Banda and Gareth Doherty both struck twice for Harps.
Longford took the lead after 10 minutes through a header from Nathan Boyle. But to Harps credit they responded within a minute through Gareth Doherty, following excellent wing play by Dean O’Donnell.
Then on 24 minutes BJ Banda finished of an excellent solo effort to give Finn Harps a 2-1 advantage. The first half was end to end and Banda got a second on 40 minutes following good work from Michael Doherty and Dylan McCroary on the opposite wing.
Harps got off to the perfect start in the second half with a goal from Dean O’Donnell on 47 mins. This would cap a very positive performance from O’Donnell on his home debut.
The score line did not reflect the balance of the match as Longford continued to play good football and with both teams creating chances. Harps created a number of quality opportunities before Gareth Doherty made it 5-1.
This was an extremely important three points for Finn Harps as they prepare for a busy month in August with games against Sligo, Dundalk and St.Pats. Keelin McGill moved up from the U-17 team this week to play alongside Ciaran Kelly in the heart of the Harps defence and did so with a polished performance. Harps have no game this weekend and will now focus on the Sligo match in two weeks time.
Darren McGarry, was very disappointed afterwards, “We started really well in the game and deservedly took the lead. Finn Harps then levelled immediately after the restart.”
“We didn’t play as well as we can which was disappointing. We gave the ball away in key areas and Harps were ruthless when given a chance which caused us to concede a couple of goals. We played well in patches of the game and got better as the it went on. We’ve got a very young side with only two 98’s so the players are learning every week and will only keep on improving.”
Derry City kept themselves in the hunt for the playoffs, while dealing Shelbourne a blow to their chances, with a 2-1 win.
Derry’s John Quigg said, “Yes, it was a great win, it keeps us in the hunt for the top four.”
“We played really well against a very good Shels team. We went one up when Cathal Farren scored after just five minutes. We also missed a penalty.”
“We were one up half time,but Shels came back after that and scored on 67 minutes. However we scored late on to win the game. It was a good result, but we have to keep wining to get into that top four. Anyone can beat you on any giving day, as it’s such a tight league.”
Shelbourne’s Wayne Groves said, “To be honest it was a strange game. We should have been a couple of goals up in the first 15 mins but found ourselves one down with Derrys first real attack.”
“It was really scrappy up to half time but Derry started the second half much the better, creating a lot of chances with Ryan O’Neil making some great saves and also saving a penalty.”
“It then became a game of you attack we attack, with Derry getting the goal with five minutes to go. It was a huge lesson for our young players to learn.”
St Patrick’s Athletic are also back in the hunt for the playoffs after hammering Athlone Town by seven goals to one. Neill Byrne and Sean Quinn scored twice, while Will McAdams, Aidan Keena and Ryan O’Shea also scored.
Athlone’s Michael Dolan was extremely disappointed with the result, “Not a lot that can be said to be honest as the result speaks for itself. I am extremely disappointed and frustrated by the level of our performance and the number of chances and goals we conceded.”
“The squad is extremely stretched at the moment with long term injuries to a number of players, who I would consider as vital to our ability to compete at this level, and with other lads still away on holiday.”
“We have tried to bring fresh blood in to the squad and have signed two new players but typical of our luck at present, one of the new lads signed last week and picked up a dead leg in a training game midweek and is out for two weeks or so and the other lad is on holiday.”
“Pats are an extremely good side and we knew they would dominate possession and we would have to defend well at all times.”
“We conceded in the 18th minute but once again passed up a one v one opportunity to equalize on 24 minutes. We immediately conceded a second and lost our shape and showed poor organization and spirit to allow Pats chances at will and go in 5 up at half-time.”
“This is not good enough and shows a weak collective mentality when we are under pressure. We changed formation and made two substitutions, and having conceded yet again early in second half we played reasonably well, but Pats had the luxury of giving all their subs a runout.”
“We scored a good goal late on but even spoiled that by conceding straight from the restart.”
“It was a day to forget and time to start again but we would like to wish Pats players and management all the best for the rest of the season, as they are an excellent side and showed us how far we need to improve individually and collectively.”
St Pats manager Garrett Dodrill was delighted his side bounced back after their Cup defeat, “Yeah we needed a response after our last 2 games against Shels in the league and Sligo in the cup.”
“We started the game brightly and moved the ball well at times. We went 1 up after 10 minutes after great pressure from Willo allowed him to win the ball high up the pitch. A quick one – two with Aidan Keena on the edge of the box before finishing into the bottom corner of the net.”
“Aidan then made it 2-0 a few minutes later with a left footed finish across the keeper from edge of box. Sean Quinn then added two well worked goals following good build up play, and Neill Byrne volleyed home aswell to give us a 5-0 lead at half time.”
“We got a little sloppy in the second half and Athlone came back into the game. We added the 6th early in the second half through Neill Byrne before Athlone pulled a deserved goal back through some great skill and finish from distance by their centre forward Conor.”
“We scored the 7th straight from tip-off following good work up the left by josh Hogan and Ryan O’Shea who delivered a great cross into the area that went in off an unlucky defender.”
“Credit to Athlone for improving their performance in second half and could have had a few more goals on the day. We have a free weekend coming up now and hopefully can get a couple of new signings over the line and get international clearance sorted for a couple of players who can’t play football at the minute until the clearance comes through.”