Leicester opened their bid for the Championship title with a narrow 1-0 win over Coventry. Lee Peltier 52nd minute goal settling a game that saw both sides reduced to ten men as Carl Baker and Darius Vassell both saw red.
There was plenty of Irish in action with Joe Murphy making a losing debut for Coventry with Richard Keogh, David Bell and substitute Roy O’Donovan all featuring. However there was no place for Sean St Ledger who was on the bench with Sven Goran Eriksson preferring Sol Bamba and Matt Mills at the back.
Former Irish U21 Internationals Marcos Painter and Gary Dicker enjoyed a winning start to life in the Championship as a Will Buckley brace saw Gus Poyet’s Brighton beat Sean O’Driscoll’s Doncaster 2-1
Damian Delaney went off injured as Ipswich beat Bristol City 3-0 while Mark Yeates and Keith Treacy both enjoyed scoring debuts as Burnley and Watford shared the spoils at Turf Moor. Burnley and Irish fan will have been delighted to see Chris McCann starting in the middle of the field for Eddie Howe’s side, the 24 year old Dubliner completing a full 90 minutes.
Steven Carr, Keith Fahey and summer signing Adam Rooney couldn’t prevent Chris Hughton from making a losing competitive debut as Birmingham manager. The Blues going down 2-1 away to Nigel Clough’s Derby, Irish youngsters Jeff Hendricks and Mark O’Brien both making substitute appearances.
Luke Varney’s 90th minute goal rescued a point for Portsmouth in their clash with Middlesbrough. Rhys William’s 54th minute goal looked to have given the ‘Boro the points however summer signing Varney was quickest to respond after Christian Dailly had an effort blocked.
Andy Reid failed to inspire Nottingham Forest as Steve McClaren’s reign as manager started with a drab goal less draw with Barnsley while substitute David Ball helped Peterborough to an opening day win over Crystal Palace for whom Irish under-21 star Sean Scannell was on the score sheet.
Owen Garvan, who had looked set for a summer departure, came on with 11 minutes to go for Palace but couldn’t rescue a point for the Londoners.
Substitute Matthieu Manset stole the show at the Madjeski, upstaging Irish forwards Shane Long and Noel Hunt with a brace as Reading came from 2 nil down to rescue a point that seemed unlikely with 5 minutes to go.
The 22 year old French striker came on for Hunt with 22 minutes to go and scored in the 86th and 89th minute to ensure Brian McDermott’s side started the season with a point.
Finally Darren O’Dea and Andy O’Brien had a day to forget when former Premier league opponents Leeds and Southampton met at St Marys. Goals from Dean Hammond, Adam Lallana and former Irish international David Connolly sealing a 3-1 win.
Ipswich and Southampton are top of the one game old table with all three promoted teams enjoying impressive win’s while Blackpool were the only relegated side to win with Birmingham losing and West Ham in action against Cardiff tomorrow at lunch time.
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.