First Division review - Round 2
It is safe to say that the 2018 First Division will certainly be the most tightly fought and keenly contested of spectacles in recent memory, with no side able to sustain a 100% winning record in the second round of fixtures. Round 2 saw wins for Longford Town and Cobh Ramblers, while UCD, Galway United , Finn Harps and Shelbourne all played out 1-1 draws. Elsewhere, Drogheda pummeled a very sorry Athlone Town side 6-0.
UCD 1-1 Galway United
In what was touted as the game of the round, UCD and Galway United played out a very entertaining and hotly contested stalemate at the UCD Bowl. Danny Furlong’s 22nd minute strike was not enough to take the spoils as Josh Collins headed home a fantastic ball in from Gary O’Neil to give the "Students" a well deserved point.
There was a healthy travelling contingent from Galway up in Belfield and they were rewarded for their travels after a Danny Furlong strike put the Tribesmen in front following some nice interplay from Ryan Connolly and Stephen Kenny on the right-hand side.
UCD, who were unfortunate to have fallen behind, responded well and soon found themselves level thanks to a well taken header from defender Josh Collins on the half hour mark. The game ebbed and flowed after that and both sides missed some great chances to claim all three points, with Tadgh Ryan impressing in the Galway United goal.
All in all, the draw was probably the fair result in the end as both sides moved up to four points at the top of the table.
Finn Harps 1-1 Shelbourne
Finn Harps finally got their SSE Airtricity League First Division campaign up and running after the early season disruption, which played havoc to their scheduled first two games of the season, but couldn’t grab the win as they played out a 1-1 draw at home to Owen Heary’s Shelbourne side.
Harps did take the lead after on-loan Shamrock Rovers striker, Michael O’Connor put Ollie Horgan’s men in the lead on the 16th minute but they were soon pegged back thanks to a Davy O’Sullivan strike just before the interval.
The game was to finish that way as Shelbourne now head into the week planning and preparing to down Neale Fenn and his Longford Town side, while Finn Harps must now make the long trip down south to face Stephen Henderson and his Cobh Ramblers troops on St Patrick’s Day.
Cabinteely 0-1 Cobh Ramblers
After a disappointing start to the season at home to Wexford FC, Cabinteely will be left rueing some missed golden opportunities, as they fell to an unfortunate one-nil home defeat to Stephen Henderson’s Cobh Ramblers at Stradbrook.
There were missed penalties, heroic goal-line clearances and shots that hit the woodwork in a game that just never seemed to be in Cabinteely’s favor from the get-go. Kieran "Marty" Waters and Darren Murphy saw their spot-kicks saved by both Paul Hunt and Stephen McGuinness respectively.
Cobh did take the lead in the 30th minute thanks to a back-post header from Adam O’Sullivan, as he got on the end of Darren Murphy set-piece. The "Rams" somehow held firm and remarkably came out of South Dublin with a vital win that will enhance their promotion credentials significantly.
Longford Town 3-0 Wexford FC
Wexford FC were the visitors to the City Calling Stadium as Longford Town ran out 3-0 winners over Damien Locke’s men in an entertaining game of ball in the in the Midlands.
After squandering some big chances early in the first-half, Wexford found themselves behind thanks to a trademark Chris Mulhall finish in the 36th minute. Town could have found themselves further in front if it wasn’t for the presence of the post denying Sam Verdon late on in the opening half.
Both sides re-emerged, and it was Wexford who threatened early on but couldn’t find an equaliser and were eventually undone by a Dylan McGlade masterclass, after he came on to make his second debut for the club, as he got one assist and scored late on to ensure an impressive 3-0 home victory for Neale Fenn’s Longford Town. Prior to that, Mulhall had bagged his second of the night (assisted by McGlade) to take his tally for the season to three goals in just two appearances.
Drogheda United 6-0 Athlone Town
Having been forced to wait over three weeks for their season opener at United Park, Drogheda United ran out easy six goal winners over Aaron Callaghan’s Athlone Town side.
"Drogs" took the lead thanks to a Jake Hyland strike in the 9th minute and soon doubled their lead in the 44th minute, in slightly fortuitous fashion as Athlone’s Martin Walshe scored an own goal.
After that, things went drastically south for the Town as they shipped a further four goals in the second half, which consigned Athlone to a very heavy defeat on the banks of the Boyne.
The midlands club have already shipped ten goals in their opening two games and will be everyone's favorites for yet another wooden spoon finish in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.