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.
Home advantage proves little comfort
As Con and the panel on MNS pointed out last night, this was the first round of Premier Division fixtures in which none of the home sides won — there were draws for league leaders Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers and UCD while Monaghan, Shelbourne and Dundalk all suffered home defeats.
While home advantage is certainly important, particularly for sides like Sligo in the Showgrounds, this may be another indicator of a more competitive league this season. As well as a healthy smattering of shock results, 16 of the 54 games played so far (29.6%) have ended in a draw. Last season, there were only 39 (21.6%) in the entire season.
Honesty the best policy for O’Conor
Perhaps the biggest talking point of the weekend came at the Belfield Bowl where Mick Cooke’s Drogheda United were denied a last-minute winner against UCD. Drogs’ goalscorer Alan McNally had his shot cleared off the line by Paul O’Conor and, despite the visitors’ pleas, referee Nick Pratt and his assistants allowed play to continue.
O’Conor definitely felt that he was a little bit fortunate, even if the TV replays and the picture he tweeted were less than conclusive.
There’s probably a tired cliche about Bohs’ goals and buses that would fit here. After failing to score at all in their first five games, Aaron Callaghan’s men have scored some absolute stonkers.
Ryan McEvoy set himself up as an early contender for goal of the season with a brilliant 30-yard effort against Monaghan, and on Friday, Peter McMahon finished off a team move with passing so fluid that it had Callaghan drawing comparisons with Barcelona.
Bohs may only have six goals from nine games but the signs of progress around Dalymount Park are positive.
Mons seeing red (again)
Down around Gortakeegan, Roddy Collins has problems of his own to sort out with Monaghan United. Mons are already three points adrift at the foot of the table with just one win and two draws from nine games, but the side’s discipline should be an equally pressing concern for Roddy.
Keith Quinn’s red card for going in off his feet on Bray’s Dave Webster was protested furiously by the Monaghan bench, but it doesn’t mask the fact that it was the third successive game that Mons have finished with 10 men.
Discipline starts at the top, but there’s a fine line between passion and stupidity. Monaghan’s task this season will be tough enough without Roddy getting himself worked up and sent to the stands for arguing the toss with the officials.
Another slip for Limerick
The First Division isn’t quite proving to be the stroll in the park that some predicted for Limerick and Pat Scully’s men fell to a third defeat of the season on Friday night, losing 1-0 at home to Waterford United.
Limerick are now four points behind Longford at the top and, more importantly, outside the automatic promotion spot which is expected around Jackman Park this year.