First Division review - Round 4
In what was another barnstorming weekend of top quality First Division action, Drogheda United clawed back a two-goal deficit against Galway United Park, while UCD came out on top against Cabinteely in the South Dublin Derby. Elsewhere, there were wins for both Finn Harps and Shelbourne, who overcame Wexford and Cobh Ramblers respectively. Unsurprisingly, Longford Town swatted aside a poor Athlone Town challenge by a hefty margin.
Drogheda United 2-2 Galway United
Galway United and Shane Keegan will no doubt have been left wondering what could and should have been as the "Tribesmen" threw away a commanding two-goal lead against ten-man Drogheda United to draw against their promotion rivals.
After going ahead by a two-goal margin thanks to a brace from Eoin McCormack, it looked as if Galway United were going to head back to Éamonn Deacy Park with all three points without Danny Furlong but Tim Clancy’s “Drogs” most certainly had other ideas.
After Mark Doyle pulled the margin back to the bare minimum on the hour mark, Colm Deasy saw red after picking two yellow cards before Luke Gallagher came up trumps for the “Boynesiders” as they rescued a point at home to Shane Keegan’s men at United Park.
Shelbourne 1-0 Cobh Ramblers
It was that man Davy O’Sullivan again as the former Longford Town hitman scored the winning goal for a resurgent Shelbourne against Stephen Henderson’s Cobh Ramblers side at Tolka Park.
Coming into the game with real momentum, Owen Heary’s side took advantage of the improved buzz around Tolka Park as the “Reds” held on for a win over a youthful Cobh Ramblers as Davy O’Sullivan poked home from close range against former teammate Paul Hunt.
Ramblers, by all accounts, were unfortunate not to have come out of the game with anything to show as their play in the final third let them down significantly for the second week running.
UCD 3-1 Cabinteely
Cabinteely continued their horror start to their First Division campaign with a lacklustre performance against Collie O’Neill’s UCD side as they fell away to a 3-1 defeat to the table toppers at the UCD Bowl.
"Cabo" got off to the worst possible start as Georgie Kelly slotted past Stephen McGuinness as Paul Doyle set the First Division’s most prolific marksman free at the edge of the Cabinteely box. It was to get even worse for Cabinteely as Yoyo Mahdy slammed past a despairing McGuinness just before the referee blew up for the half-time break.
The second half began as it finished in the first as UCD were well on top without playing to the best of their ability as Pat Devlin’s Cabinteely side looked a distinctly average outfit. Before Gary O’Neill put the "Students" three goals into the lead, Cabinteely’s Karl Byrne saw red after pulling down Mahdy just outside the penalty box.
"Cabo" did grab a consolation goal through Jack Watson, but it was too little too late as UCD marched all the way to the top of the First Division table for the first time this season while Cabinteely remained in a lowly 8th place.
Finn Harps 1-0 Wexford FC
Finn Harps have continued their solid start to life back in the First Division having come through the challenge of Wexford FC at Finn Park to go fourth in the table, just three points behind a promising UCD side at the top of the pile.
With brotherly duo Ciaran O’Connor and Michael O’Connor dominating the headlines during the week after a late-night incident in Dundalk over St. Patrick’s Weekend, it was always going to be the case that they would link up with each other to guarantee the three points for Ollie Horgan’s men.
Wexford boss, Damien Locke will no doubt be proud of his sides battling qualities as they began to restore their hard-to-beat reputation after the embarrassment of last week at Ferrycarrig Park.
Longford Town 5-1 Athlone Town
In what must be described as one of the least surprising results of the weekend, Longford Town easily swept aside a very poor Athlone Town challenge at the City Calling Stadium by a score-line of five goals to one in the Midlands “El Clasico”.
After being stunned early thanks to a Ryan McCullough goal, Longford Town reassessed and started again, as they overturned the early deficit with five unanswered goals from attacking trio Dean Byrne, Chris Mulhall and Evan Galvin.
This result will undoubtedly resurface questions regarding Athlone Town’s League of Ireland future as once again they ended up on the wrong end of a very, very heavy beating at the hands of the Division’s elite, which is a shame as it takes the gloss off of Longford Town’s big win after the disappointment of last weekends defeat at Shelbourne.