Sligo sitting comfortably
RICHMOND PARK WITNESSED an entertaining 0-0 draw on Friday night as neither the home side nor the champions-elect could make a breakthrough during the 90 minutes.
While Liam Buckley expressed his disappointment at the Saints’ failure to take their chances, Sligo boss Ian Baraclough was the happier of the two – and so he should be.
The Bit O’Red currently hold a nine-point gap on their nearest rivals and barring a complete meltdown, they will be be crowned league champions for just the third time come the end of the season.
Many had feared the worst when Danny North’s campaign was ended prematurely by cruciate ligament damage but strike partner Mark Quigley has stepped up and shown that he is one of the top marksmen in division by scoring seven times in the last six Premier Division games. Pascal Millien has also been increasingly influential in the team.
Hoops delighted to have Stewart back
An old friend has returned to Tallaght in recent weeks and on Friday night took just seconds to remind fans why he was a favourite during his first stint at the club.
Shamrock Rovers were tied at 0-0 in their FAI Ford Cup third round clash with Cork City when Tommy Stewart, back at the club after a stine with Patrick Thistle, was introduced from the bench.
With his very first touch the striker diverted Billy Dennehy’s cut-back over the line from a close range, then six minutes later sealed the Hoops’ passage to the quarter-finals with a stunning drive past Mark McNulty from 25 yards out.
It was the injection of energy that Rovers needed and Stephen Kenny will be hoping he can have a similar impact throughout the remainder of the season.
No third round cupsets
None of the three non-league teams – Avondale United, Cherry Orchard and Malahide United – could manage shock wins over their Airtricity League opponents on Friday night.
While Malahide, managed by former cup winner Vinny Perth, were disposed of by Dundalk in a 4-0 win for the visiting Lilywhites, FAI Intermediate champions Avondale gave a better account of themselves, losing 1-0 to Bohemians after their veteran goalkeeper Dave ‘The Save’ O’Keeffe kept out two penalty kicks.
Leinster Senior League side Cherry Orchard scored twice at Tolka Park through Mark Hughes but went down 3-2 to Alan Mathews’ men meaning the final nine teams remaining (Waterford and Mervue still have to play after their fixture was postponed twice) all come from the Premier and First Divisions.
Draw throws up some tasty matches
The draw for the quarter-finals was made last night and the stand-out tie looks to be the Dublin derby between two former winners Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers.
St Pat’s host Drogheda and with only two points separating those sides in the league, it is certain to be a tight affair. Elsewhere, Dundalk travel to the capital again as they are paired with Bohemians while the winner of Waterford v Mervue must make a trip to the Brandywell.
- Shelbourne v Shamrock Rovers
- Bohemian FC v Dundalk
- St Patrick’s Athletic v Drogheda United
- Derry City v Waterford United / Mervue United
Ties to be played on the week ending 15/16 September
Dave’s awaiting your call, Eoin
The fall-out over Dave Barry’s comments about UCD continues to drag on and last night the former Cork City legend made Eoin Hand aware that he wasn’t happy with the ex-Ireland manager live on MNS.
A number of weeks ago, Barry suggested that the pressure The Students face isn’t as great as the kind that the other teams in the league are under, which prompted UCD to respond with an open letter the following week.
Hand then put his two cents’ worth in by saying he has “given Dave Barry stick for saying: ‘Should UCD in the League of Ireland?” before Barry’s outburst on the programme last night:
“On July 9, I was on this show and I saw two managers being interviewed – UCD’s Martin Russell and Dundalk’s Sean McCaffrey. I spoke about the pressues that are on these clubs and the manager’s of these clubs.
“Since then Eoin Hand has come on this show and quoted me as saying that I had questioned whether UCD should continue in the league. I heard him make those comments and I thought: ‘Where is he getting that from?’
“I have a lot of respect for Eoin Hand and he’s a big name in the game but I don’t appreciate people putting words in my mouth because I never even suggested that UCD don’t belong in the League of Ireland.
“I merely spoke of the pressures that are on the manager. I speak for myself and I don’t appreciate people putting words in my mouth so I hope I’ll be hearing from Eoin.”
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