First Division review as UCD reclaim top spot (Round 8)

 Review by Andrew Dempsey.

Review by Andrew Dempsey.

It was another thrilling weekend in the SSE Airtricity League First Division as Shelbourne dispatched of a poor Galway United at Tolka Park. UCD once again showed their promotion mettle, as they saw off a disappointing Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium. Elsewhere, there were big wins for Drogheda United and Wexford, as Cabinteely fell to a late defeat against Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps up in Ballybofey.

Shelbourne 2-0 Galway United

It was another fantastic night at Tolka Park for Shelbourne as the "Reds" saw off a largely uninspiring Galway United side in Drumcondra. Goals from Alan Byrne and a red-hot David O’Sullivan were enough to claim victory on Friday night. 

It was a slow enough start to proceedings at Tolka Park as Shelbourne forced a good early save from Tadgh Ryan in the Galway United goal. The "Tribesmen" opted to try and beat Owen Heary’ side at their own game with some very direct passages of play, which was largely ineffective.

Shelbourne took a deserved lead as Lorcan Fitzgerald saw his inch-perfect delivery find the head of Alan Byrne, who nodded home to give the "Reds" a deserved lead at the half-time break.

Galway did respond in the second half, but they were left resorting to half chances as Danny Furlong an co. struggled to pierce their way through a stubborn Shelbourne defensive set-up. Unsurprisingly, Shelbourne doubled their lead with a tap in from David O’Sullivan after Tadgh Ryan found himself in an almighty mess in the Galway United six-yard box to secure a well-earned victory for the "Reds" at Tolka Park.  

Finn Harps 1-0 Cabinteely

In a game that was looked at as a big no-no for the over 2.5 goals punters, Finn Harps squeezed their way past a stiff Cabinteely challenge at Finn Park, as Sam Todd popped up with a late winner to send the Ballybofey faithful home happy.

Harps have struggled to get going as of yet in the First Division and it looked as if they were going to drop points once again at home against Pat Devlin’s Cabinteely before the on-loan Derry City defender, Sam Todd came up trumps for a Harps side looking to move up the table.  

Cabinteely, after beating Shelbourne before their defeat up in the North-West, must now dust themselves off as they look to secure a big win over an abysmal Athlone Town side at Stradbrook next weekend, while Finn Harps prepare themselves for an away trip to the Midlands to face Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium.  

Wexford FC 7-0 Athlone Town

It was another dark, dark night in the history of Athlone Town Football Club as they fell to a savage SEVEN GOALS TO NIL defeat against the team that were seen as their most accessible way of achieving a first win of the season.

Not much needs to be said about the troubling situation at Athlone Town but this result must surely be one of the most embarrassing results in there illustrious history at senior level. On the other hand, it was a night to remember for Wexford FC, who recorded their biggest ever win in the League of Ireland as Aaron Dobbs, Shane Barnes and Dean George all pounced to secure a big win for Damian Locke’s side.  

Hopefully these results do not become a regular theme this season for one of the division’s most historical clubs. Aaron Callaghan’s side have already conceded a monstrous THIRTY-THREE goals in just eight games….

Longford Town 0-2 UCD

In what was touted as the headline billing of this weekend’s First Division action, it was UCD who came out on top over a disappointing Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium. A Georgie Kelly brace saw the “Students” regain top spot in the First Division.

After starting well, Town couldn’t find their way past a staunch UCD defence, as Collie O’Neill’s side looked to have finished the half stronger with some testing efforts by both Kelly and O’Connor that were well dealt with by Longford shot-stopper Mick Kelly.

However, UCD took the lead on the hour mark thanks to a Georgie Kelly tap in after some good work from Gary O’Neill in the penalty area. Kelly then grabbed his second and UCD’s final goal of the game in a near replica of the first goal as he poked home from close range once again.

On the whole, it was a disappointing night at the office for Longford Town who must react with a big statement next weekend against Finn Harps in the Midlands. UCD, on the other hand, will now look forward to the visit of Wexford FC to the UCD Bowl next weekend.

Cobh Ramblers 1-5 Drogheda United

It was a five-star performance from Tim Clancy’s Drogheda United down in St Colman’s Park, as they stunned Stephen Henderson’s shell-shocked Cobh Ramblers side by a score-line of five goals to one.  

Ramblers, despite starting well, found themselves in a real mess after Richie Purdy’s opener as they conceded an astonishing four goals in a nightmare nine-minute spell, as Mark Doyle grabbed a quick brace alongside a Ciaran Kelly strike that went in off the post.  

It was game over after that as Chris Lyons scored Drogheda’s fifth of the night before Cian Leonard slotted past Paul Skinner in the Drogheda United goal to put a slightly more respectable feel to the games score-line.

Cobh must now look to react with a daunting away trip up to Galway in Éamonn Deacy Park, while Drogheda will surely be looking to take advantage of a possible UCD slip up with a win over fellow promotion hopefuls Shelbourne at United Park.