Drogheda United’s good form continued as they put together an impressive second half display to leave the Carlisle Grounds with a 3-1 win against ten-man Bray.
Drogheda opened the scoring right after the break when a long ball into the Bray box caused mayhem and eventually Danny O’Connor headed the ball but it fell to Eric Foley, 25 yards out, and the midfielder hit a dipping volley past the diving Quigley.
Bray levelled on 69 minutes when a double sub paid dividends as Adam Hanlon crossed for Dean Marshall at the back post and he headed in off the post. However three minutes later and Declan O’Brien was provided a chance to re-take the lead from the spot which he duly obliged with. All three points were sealed for the Drogs when O’Brien turned from scorer to provider as he hit a free kick from 20 yards out and Quigley could only parry it to his right where another sub, Jason Marks, was waiting to tap home.
Shamrock Rovers meanwhile lost further ground at the top of the Premier Division table thanks to yet another draw, this time against Shelbourne at Tallaght Stadium.
The home side haven’t won a home league game since mid May and will count this as a chance missed especially since they took the lead just before the half hour mark through Ciarán Kilduff.
The visitors replied with goals through Kavanagh on 52 minutes following a quick counter attack and Gorman put the northside club ahead 13 minutes from time.
Rovers’ man Ronan Finn equalized eight minutes from time to rescue a point for the home side, but they are now ten points adrift of table topping Sligo with just seven games to play and their hopes of retaining their title are effectively over.
St. Pats beat Bohemians to go into second place on their own with a 3-2 win at Dalymount Park.
Seán O’Connor continued his superb run of goal-scoring form with a spectacular winner for the visitors.
Bohs took the lead through a powerful close range header from centre back Evan McMillan after 25 minutes.
Seven minutes from the break Seán O’Connor’s free kick from wide on the right found James Chambers beyond the far post and his side-footed volley beat debutant Bohs’ keeper Greg Murray to find the far corner of the net for Pats’ equalizer.
After 48 minutes Bohs found themselves behind when dithering at the back allowed Chris Forrester to nip on to a cross from Seán O’Connor and poke the ball past Murray from the edge of the six yard box.
Bohs leveled the scores again just before the hour mark as another Gypsies’ defender, Kevin Feeley, rose highest to power home a corner just past the hour mark.
Both sides went for the winner from there and both goalkeepers made fine saves in what had become an absorbing clash.
With 20 minutes left, O’Connor put Pats back into the lead. Bolger created the opening, flicking the ball into space, where O’Connor didn’t hesitate, unleashing a perfectly hit volley that spun over visiting ‘keeper Murray and just inside his left hand post.
From there it was all hands on deck for the visitors, but they held on for a win which keeps them within eight points of table toppers Sligo and just two behind second placed Drogheda.
Bohs lie in seventh place with 27 points and Aaron Callaghan’s young side look set for a mid table finish.
UCD took a huge step to preserving their Premier Division status as they defeated fellow strugglers Dundalk at Oriel Park. Goals from David McMillan gave the Students a crucial victory on the road and put them seven points ahead of the Lilywhites with just six games remaining.
Cork City appear to have put paid to Derry’s hopes of qualifying for Europe with a hard fought 0-1 win over the Candystripes at the Brandywell.
The home side can consider themselves unlucky not to have picked up a share of the spoils having had a number of chances to net, most notably when a ball fell to Stephen McLaughlin two yards out from goal but he was foiled by the agile McNulty in the Cork goal.
The winner came midway through the second half when Cork broke quickly on the counter attack. O’Neill saw his effort saved by Gerard Doherty only for Gerry Buckley to crash a header to the back of the net from the resulting corner kick.
The goal had come against the run of play and Derry set about pegging it back. They should have been level five minutes after going behind but McNulty managed to keep out a close range strike from David McDaid.
From there the leesiders held on until the final whistle with only a few scares and any lingering relegation worries seem now to have abated for the Rebel Army.
In the First Division, Limerick FC cruised past ten-man Mervue United with a very comfortable 4-0 win at Jackman Park, though the final score could easily have been almost double that. Tracy, O’Leary, Gaffney and Behan all scored in a result that sees Limerick take one more step towards the Premier Division and the Shannonsiders are now four points clear at the top with Mervue just two points above bottom placed SD Galway with four games to play.
In the final game of this weekend, Waterford United maintained the pressure at the top with a 1-0 win away to the bottom side and the Munster outfit move into second place in the league table. Peter White scored the winner four minutes into the second half with a well placed shot from the edge of the penalty area.
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION:
Bohemians 2-3 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Bray Wanderers 1-3 Drogheda United
Derry City 0-1 Cork City
Dundalk 1-2 University College Dublin
Shamrock Rovers 2-2 Shelbourne
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION:
Limerick FC 4-0 Mervue United
SD Galway 0-1 Waterford United