JOIN US AS we look at the biggest talking points from last weekend’s Airtricity League action. If you’re stuck for something to say when chatting about domestic football , here’s a cut out and keep list of semi-intelligent points.
Derry kick-start their season
It hasn’t been the smoothest of transitions for Declan Devine and Derry City, so Friday night’s draw away to league leaders Sligo Rovers was crucial. Defeat would’ve seen Derry fall nine points off the top at this early stage and, although the first round of games isn’t even finished yet, they were in danger of leaving themselves with a mountain to climb.
Last night’s 3-0 win against Shamrock Rovers in the Setanta Sports Cup will add to the confidence ahead of their return to Tallaght for a league fixture in 10 days, a must-win game if they are to assert themselves as genuine title contenders.
Cork find the golden touch (at last)
A week ago, we found ourselves quite justifiably asking where Cork City’s goals were going to come from. Last Friday, six of them came along with bus-like frequency against Monaghan United.
Without taking any of the gloss off a brilliant first win for City, a few of the goals were quite fortuitous: Daryl Horgan’s opener took a hefty deflection, Chris Bennion will have nightmares over the fumble which led to Davin O’Neill’s first, and the late penalty which let O’Neill wrap up his hat-trick was dubious to say the least.
Cork will feel that they are entitled to a bit of luck at this stage and they certainly made hay when it presented itself last weekend. It should give them plenty of confidence ahead of the visit of Sligo to the Cross on Friday night.
Where was Sean McCaffrey on Friday night?
It can’t be easy to face the music when your team has just limped to a 6-0 defeat, but Roddy Collins wasn’t the only Premier Division manager in that predicament last weekend.
The panel on RTÉ’s MNS weren’t all that impressed by Sean McCaffrey’s no-show after Dundalk’s hammering against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght. For whatever reason, McCaffrey skipped the post-match pleasantries and sent assistant Darius Kierans out instead.
The point made was that after such a drubbing, McCaffrey should’ve taken the opportunity to defend his project in Dundalk, a move which would’ve given the squad confidence in their progress and in their manager. There’s no denying that his task in Dundalk, with limited funds and young players, is a tough one. Friday wasn’t the night to go hiding though.
Jason moves up the scoring charts
Jason Byrne found the Tolka Park net plenty of times during his years with Shelbourne, so there was something nicely symmetrical about him scoring his 183rd league goal on his return to Drumcondra on Friday night.
The goal which took Byrne to second in the all-time scorer charts was worthy of its place alongside all the rest as he cut back inside Ian Ryan and curled the ball around the outstretched arm of Paul Skinner and into the bottom corner.
The Dubliner’s still a long way off Brendan Bradley’s 235, but even at 34-years-old, who’d bet against him adding a few more before hanging up his boots?
We don’t like to keep harping on about refereeing decisions but James McKell raised a few eyebrows on Friday night when he awarded UCD a penalty in the closing stages of their defeat against Bohs. Derek Pender did leave his feet to put in a tackle on Robbie Benson but it was quite clear the defender won the ball first and then made what little contact there was with the striker.
Fortunately, the incident didn’t change the outcome of the game and Bohs held on for a 2-1 win, but keeper Andrew McNulty might feel a little aggrieved that he was denied a second successive clean sheet in the league.