End of the line for Kenny
BOHEMIANS WENT TO bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers on Monday night and came away not only with a 1-0 win — the Gypsies’ first in Tallaght Stadium — but also with the final say in Stephen Kenny’s brief, dismal reign as Hoops boss.
In truth Bohemians probably did more than any other team in the league, bar Rovers themselves, to make Kenny’s life a misery; of the four league games the champions lost this season, two were against Bohs, including that unforgettable 4-0 in Dalymount.
Rovers chairman Jonathan Roche said on Tuesday that the decision to sack Kenny was not one taken lightly by the board but the speculation that mounted after that embarrassing June defeat, even before Rovers’ European exit against Ekranas, suggested that this was quickly becoming an impossible job.
Tommy Dunne and Martin Russell are sure to be among the domestic candidates linked with the vacancy but as they close the book on a disastrous season, it’s vital that Rovers take the time to get the next appointment right.
Sligo stride on despite injuries
While the champions continued their fall from grace, heirs apparent Sligo Rovers continued their march towards the promised land with a 3-0 win at home to struggling Dundalk on Monday night.
With Danny North and Iarfhlaith Davoren still sidelined by injury, it seems the only thing that could even slow Sligo’s progress is if they lose more key men to injury. There will have been a few anxious faces around the Showgrounds last night when Mark Quigley, ably deputising in front of goal, limped off with a thigh strain not long after scoring the opener while Extratime.ie report that Alan Keane could miss the rest of the season with a broken metatarsal.
Fortunately for Sligo, Quigley expects to be fit for Friday’s trip to Bray but even without him, Ian Baraclough need not worry about finding the net. A total of seven different players have combined to score the Bit O’Red’s last nine league goals, sharing the burden of North’s absence.
Drogs and Pat’s head for Europe
Fans of Drogheda United and St Patrick’s Athletic will feel a lot more secure about their sides’ European chances following the last two rounds of games. Both sides picked up maximum points on Friday and again on Monday, Drogheda coming from behind to beat both Bray and Derry while Pat’s celebrated a tricky derby double against Bohs and Shels.
With Shamrock Rovers — the only other realistic challengers for a top-three finish and a place in next season’s Europa League qualifying rounds — picking up just one point from their own two games, Drogheda and Pat’s have benefitted from a five-point swing in a matter of days.
Bohs get timely win
Aaron Callaghan’s Bohemians finally snapped a run of six winless games in the league last night with that historic 1-0 win against Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght, a result that the travelling support will feel was well-deserved.
While Rovers dominated possession, they did so without ultimately creating more than a handful of chances. In defence, Derek Pender succeeded in keeping Ronan Finn quiet while Keith Ward continued to mastermind Bohs’ movement going forward as he has done for most of the season.
The win will give them a timely boost ahead of a very winnable FAI Cup quarter-final against Dundalk on Friday night. Bohs are by no means the favourites for the competition — the bookies rank them sixth of the eight remaining teams — but with a semi-final spot very much within their reach, a quiet air of optimism might make itself felt around Phibsboro.
Three and out for UCD
UCD have hit a hot streak of form at a time when it was desperately needed. The Students won just three of their first 20 games in the league; now they have won three of their last four, adding last night’s win over Dundalk to victories against Cork and Bray.
It was enough to pull them far clear of the bottom of the table, a position with which they have been too familiar since Monaghan’s withdrawal from the league. With seven points now separating themselves and Dundalk, safety is not mathematically guaranteed but looks a good deal more likely for Martin Russell’s men.