The League of Ireland Week In Football – Week 11
Premier Round-up – Sligo Six Clear at the Top
Sligo Rovers provided the performance of the week, dismantling champions Shamrock Rovers in a 3-0 victory and moving six points clear at the top of the table. The Bit O’Red remain undefeated and have the league’s form striker in Danny North who has scored eleven goals in eleven games. If they can keep up their current momentum then Sligo will be hard to catch this season.
One other side remain undefeated, St Patrick’s Athletic. The Saints played out a scoreless draw at home to a Cork City side who have improved significantly in recent weeks. Cork had the opportunity to take all three points but Tadgh Purcell failed to convert from the penalty spot.
At The Bowl, visitors Shelbourne had to play most of the game with ten men following the early sending off of Sean Byrne. A first minute goal meant Shels were already in the lead and even with the numerical disadvantage they were able to run out 2-0 victors over UCD.
Bray Wanderers had a brace of Jason Byrne penalties to thank for gaining them their second away win of the season, this time over Dundalk. 34 year old Byrne now has eight league goals for the season, while Bray have three wins on the bounce.
Bohemians and Drogheda United shared the spoils as they played out a 1-1 draw at Dallymount Park. That was Drogheda’s fourth draw of the season and they remain undefeated on their travels.
The final fixture of round 11 was the meeting of Derry City and Monaghan United on Tuesday evening. Derry looked to be on their way to a single goal victory as the game approached the final five minutes but an amazing late goalscoring flurry saw Derry win 4-1 at Gortakeegan.
With each side having played each other, there is no doubt that the stand out team have been Sligo Rovers. Champions Shamrock Rovers will be the side under most scrutiny and their new manager Stephen Kenny is already under early pressure from some sections of the Rovers support.
Setanta Cup Victory for Crusaders
It took penalties to separate Derry City and Crusaders after the sides finished 1-1 in ninety minutes and 2-2 after extra time.
Crusaders are the first Northern side to win the competition since Linfield were crowned All Ireland champions in 2005, the competition’s inaugural year.
The competition has struggled to grab the imagination of supporters and many participants, no matter how it has been revamped. Still, it is Crusaders’ only silverware this season and may well have represented Derry’s best chance of lifting a trophy. The reality is that trophies are hard to come by, no matter the competition.
We play on Fridays …and Saturdays, Tuesdays and Mondays.
There are weeks when the league struggles for media coverage. This week was not one of them, even against the backdrop of the most amazing finish to an English Premier League ever.
Following four games on Friday night, Saturday brought a cracking match up between Sligo and Shamrock Rovers which was live on RTE. When that game finished Setanta Sports were broadcasting the All Ireland cup competition they lend their name to. Tuesday brought five goals in the Monaghan v Derry game and an attention grabbing three goals in injury time.
This week we have double fixtures to look forward to with each side playing Friday and Monday night. Friday’s Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda United game will be broadcast live on RTE and www.rte.ie/live – Kick-off 7.05pm.
First Division Round-up
Longford Town remain four points clear of Limerick at the top of the table after claiming a 2-0 win away to Waterford United. Longford have now won nine of their eleven league games.
Limerick are trying to keep pace with them, and they had another good win, scoring five goals out West to beat SD Galway 5-2. Stephen Bradley bagged a brace for the Limerick, who are the league’s highest scorers with 34 goals so far.
In the South-East, Wexford Youths beat Finn Harps 3-0 with Tom Elmes again getting on the scoresheet. Harps were reduced to ten men after only four minutes and were to be reduced to nine midway through the second half, it was a bad day alround for the Donegal men.
In the final game of the weekend, Athlone won for the third time in four, beating Mervue United 2-1.
This Week’s Fixtures
Friday 18th May 2012
Bohemians v Derry City
Bray Wanderers v St. Patrick’s Athletic
Cork City v U.C.D
Sligo Rovers v Shelbourne
Dundalk v Monaghan United
Shamrock Rovers v Drogheda United
Limerick FC v Athlone Town
Mervue United v Wexford Youths
Longford Town v SD Galway
Finn Harps v Waterford United
Monday 21st May 2012
Shelbourne v Bohemians
Monaghan United v Shamrock Rovers
U.C.D v Sligo Rovers
St. Patrick’s Athletic v Dundalk
Drogheda United v Cork City
Derry City v Bray Wanderers