League of Ireland Review – Rovers struggle again

In a week that has seen the fixtures of the League of Ireland spread over a number of days, Bohemians and St.Pats took the chance to continue their 100% starts to the season, whereas, clubs such as Bray and Shamrock Rovers appear to be struggling at this early stage in the season. Plenty of controversy, goals and incident occurred this week which got the league talking.

Galway United 2 – 1 Bray Wanderers

Galway got their season started on Friday night thanks to goals from Karl Sheppard and Derek O’Brien. Sheppard showed his predatory instinct in the 21st minute as he tapped in from close range after a Gary Curran effort was parried by Wanderers keeper, Brian Kane. Galway continued to press and were rewarded, when Sheppard turned provider for Derek O’Brien. Bray managed to pull one back only minutes later through substitute, Philip Knight. However the Seagulls failed to make a number of late chances pay and Galway held on for the 3 points.

Sporting Fingal 1 – 1 Sligo Rovers

In a repeat of last years FAI Cup final, the spoils were shared this time around. Sporting were playing their first home match in the top division and were hoping to take all 3 points. The Dublin club looked well on their way to achieving just that when Gary O’Neill put the home side in front in the 51st minute. However, just 4 minutes later, Sligo were level after Padraig Amond got his first of the season after his move from Shamrock Rovers. This game will not live long in the memory, but Sporting Fingal managed to get their first points in the top division of Irish football and will hope to progress from here.

Dundalk 2 – 2 Drogheda

In a game many expected Dundalk to win, Drogehda will be the unhappier of the two with the final result. Drogheda dominated the first half and Glen Fitzpatrick put the away side in front after 8 minutes. Drogheda added to their lead after 21 minutes when they were awarded a soft penalty by the linesman. Joe Kendrick sent the ball into the bottom left hand corner and Drogheda looked to be on their way to victory. However, the second half changed all that. Former Dundalk player, Michael Daly was given his marching orders after his second bookable offence on the 61st minute. Dundalk wasted no time in scoring as they were awarded a soft penalty also. Neale Fenn made no mistake from the spot. Faz Kudozivic made it 2-2 in the 81st minute after tapping in from close range after a Neale Fenn shot was saved. Dundalk will be the happier of the two sides and remain unbeaten this season.

UCD 1 – 2 Bohemians

Both sides went into this game with maximum points from the opening weekend and Bohemians started the stronger of the two sides as they dominated for large parts of the first half, however they couldn’t make their possession pay as UCD were awarded a penalty in the 56th minute. Greg Bolger stepped up to take the kick and sent the ball straight down the middle as Chris O’Connor dived to his right. Bolger then became the villain of the piece as he was sent off in the 68th minute for his second yellow after kicking the ball away. Bohs took advantage of the numbers game and scored a quickfire double. Substitute, Jason Byrne got the first after some neat work on the edge of the box. The Gypsies top scorer of last season struck the ball into the top corner to level the score. Rafael Cretaro, another substitute, made it 2-1 moments later after a tremendous strike from 30 yards out took the UCD keeper by surprise. The Gypsies’ make it 6 points out of 6 so far whereas, UCD can take a lot of positives from this game.

Shamrock Rovers 0 – 2 St.Patrick’s Athletic

St.Pats moved to the top of the Airtricity league after a huge win over rivals Shamrock Rovers in the first Dublin Derby of the season. Rovers were facing an injury crisis up front as Gary Twigg and Dessie Baker face weeks on the sidelines. Gramhan Barrett was entrusted with the tasks of finding goals for the Hoops. The first half had all the hustle and bustle expected from a local derby, however the second half provided the fireworks. Two quickfire goals from former Hoop, Ian Bermingham and new signing, Vinny Faherty were enough to the Inchicore club take top spot at this early stage in the season. Pete Mahon will be delighted with the start Pats have made, whereas Michael O’Neill must be wondering where the goals will come from for his depleted Rovers team.

The Betting Zone

Well a more productive week than last week. My NB of St.Pats @ 7/2 was massively over priced and I hope you took advantage of this. Karl Sheppard also managed to score anytime @ 6/4. Elsewhere, my predictions came very close to perfection as the only result that let me down was Dundalk drawing with Drogheda. Make sure to come back tomorrow for your preview of this weekend’s fixtures!