League of Ireland Week In Football – Week 8
Results Round-up – Sligo Continue to Soar
Sligo Rovers are now three points clear at the top of the table following victory over Cork City at Turners Cross. Danny North scored the game’s only goal meaning the Bit O’ Red remain undefeated with six wins from eight.
The league’s other in-form striker Gary Twigg rescued a point for Shamrock Rovers against a side they have struggled against in recent years. Rovers were staring down the barrel of defeat as they trailed Bray Wanderers following two goals from Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, but they rallied in the last 20 minutes to secure a draw and at least pick up a point.
Another surprising result was the 2-1 victory for Dundalk away to Derry City at The Brandywell. It was only Dundalk’s second victory of the season, and the first time they had scored away from home.
While Dundalk were winning for the second time, Monaghan were taking all three points for the very first. Having been reduced to ten men after only two minutes with goalkeeper Chris Bennion seeing red, Mons’ produced their best performance of the season to beat Bohemians 2-1 with a late winner.
High flying Drogheda won again with an impressive 3-1 victory over Shelbourne to move them level on points with Shamrock Rovers, they are now third in the table only on goal difference. One point behind them are St Patrick’s Athletic who remain undefeated having beaten UCD 2-0 in a comfortable victory at Richmond Park.
In summary: Three away wins, Two home wins, and One draw.
Dundalk’s Childminding Budget To Be Cut?
Dundalk’s first victory was a surprise not just because of their awful form so far this season, but also because it seems matters off the field are of equal concern right now.
We have already addressed the fact that Dundalk have an “inexperienced squad”, in fact it is a squad, apparently assembled for the future, that is wholly unbalanced in terms of just how youthful it is. That future may lie outside the Premier Division given performances to date.
Figures quoted suggest an apparent budget of 7,000 Euro per week, if that is to cover the wages of this side alone it is highly excessive. It may well also cover the bloated backroom team (that’s not a dig at Sean Caffrey, I mean bloated in terms of numbers) but either way cuts will be coming in a club already struggling.
With a breakdown in relations between the supporters’ trust and owner, and question marks over who is actually making the management decisions, these are worrying times for fans of The Lilywhites.
First Division Round-up – Revenge in the South-East
Having suffered a 6 – 0 defeat to their near neighbours on the first day of the season, Waterford were sure to exact revenge against Wexford Youths in the return leg. They exercised the demons of that defeat with a very comfortable 4 – 0 victory, their first win in four games.
Longford Town were four goals up after 25 minutes and saw off Mervue United 4 – 2 at a stroll to reamin top of the league table.
There were early goals and two red cards in the clash of Finn Harps and Limerick at Finn Park, the visitors winning (1 – 3) to remain just one point behind Longford in second place.
The final fixture of the weekend saw Athlone Town travel west to beat SD Galway 0 – 1 in Terryland Park. Galway remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the league table.
Bilberry the Elephant Dinosaur Goat
This column is a big supporter of mascots, we’ve highlighted Hooperman in the past as the league’s number one and there are other grown men in costumes that we greatly admire. So excitement built when news broke that Waterford United had a new mascot, an animal based one at that!
Could we be about to see “The Water Buffalo” or a “Waterford Blue Tit” ?
No, instead the inspirational new figurehead of Waterford support is known as “Bilberry The Goat”.
Reports suggest that nobody in the crowd could figure out why there was a small dinosaur / elephant hybrid trundling down the sideline but Bilberry is just a very special looking goat.
Given the nature of LOI though, should any side really be linking themselves with a near extinct breed?
Setanta Final Line-up confirmed
Last week we said Derry City and Crusaders were the favourites to progress from the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final 2nd legs. And on Monday night those favourite tags proved to be correct, but only just.
Derry secured their opportunity to contest their first Setanta Cup final by managing to only get beaten 0-2 by Shamrock Rovers. The Candystripes had done all the damage to Rovers in the first leg and although two Gary Twigg goals gave The Hoops a fighting chance, Derry just about held on to book a final spot.
Likewise, Crusaders made progressing harder work than expected. At home to Sligo Rovers they were beaten 2–0 in ninety minutes to send the game into extra-time. A somewhat generous penalty awarded to the home side during this time won it for Crusaders and denied the neutrals the drama of a penalty shootout.
Derry and Crusaders will face each other at Oval, Belfast on Saturday 12th May, a change of venue from the originally planned Windsor Park.
This weekend’s fixtures:
Friday 27th April 2012
Dundalk v Bohemians
U.C.D v Drogheda United
Monaghan United v Bray Wanderers
Shamrock Rovers v Derry City
Shelbourne v Cork City
Sligo Rovers v St. Patrick’s Athletic
Athlone Town v Longford Town
Limerick FC v Waterford United
Mervue United v Finn Harps
Wexford Youths v SD Galway