Cork City returned to the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division on Friday night. The Lee-siders beat Drogheda United 3-1 in Cork. Billy Dennehy scored again for Cork to complete the win after goals from Liam Kearney and Garry Buckley. Drogheda’s Gavin Brennan missed a first-half penalty and it was 0-0 at half-time. Carl Walshe had equalised for Drogheda after Kearney’s opener but Buckley and Dennehy made sure the home side took the three points.
The other top-four clash was at Oriel Park between Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers. The dramatic 2-2 draw leaves Dundalk in second place with Rovers remaining in fourth. Ciaran Kilduff opened the scoring for Rovers in the first-half. Richie Towell equalised from a penalty for Dundalk to drive the home crowd crazy in the second-half. Shamrock Rovers’ captain Conor Kenna was sent off following a bust-up after the penalty leaving Rovers to play the last thirty-five minutes a man down. Darren Meenan gave the home team the lead shortly after but the drama did not end there. Ronan Finn popped up with an injury-time equaliser for Rovers and this keeps them within three points of Cork City and Dundalk at the top of the table.
Elsewhere, Athlone Town remain without a point after losing 2-1 in Limerick. St Patrick’s Athletic beat Bohemians 3-1 in a Dublin derby. Sligo Rovers made it ten goals in two games with a 5-0 hammering of UCD and Bray and Derry played out a 0-0 draw in Wicklow.
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Drogheda United fell to their first defeat of the season on Friday night at home to Bray Wanderers. Scully and O’Neill were the scorers for Bray in this victory that leaves them in eight position while Drogheda remain in fourth place.
Dundalk continue to impress this season and last night they won 4-1 at UCD. This takes Dundalk to the top of the table, two points clear of Cork City but having played one more game. Dundalk had to show great character to come from behind in this game and their reward is to now be sitting atop the Premier League table.
A Killian Brennan penalty gave St Pat’s the three points in their Dublin derby at home to Shamrock Rovers. Brennan’s spot-kick was the only strike of the game and it bring St Pat’s into the top five on twelve points. Rovers are in third place, one point ahead of St Pat’s.
Turners Cross was the venue for last night’s most dramatic finish. Cork City were vying to remain in first place but they were held to a 1-1 draw against Sligo Rovers. Kieran Djilali had given Sligo the lead in the dying minutes but Billy Dennehy scored a ninety-third minute penalty (his fourth goal of the season) to ensure the spoils were shared.
In the nights other two games Derry City beat bottom-placed Athlone Town 3-2 at the Brandywell. Limerick bagged their first three points of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win away to Bohemians.
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Cork City have started brilliantly in the Premier Division this season. They have taken thirteen points from the first five games including Friday nights 3-0 win at home to Shamrock Rovers. The Dennehy brothers, Billy and Mark, were both on the scoresheet with Mark O’Sullivan getting the other goal. City are in action again on Monday night at Thomond Park against Limerick City before Sligo Rovers visit Turners Cross next Friday.
Sligo Rovers were champions in 2012 but are struggling to get going so far this year. They are second-from-bottom right now with only one win from their five games. The most recent of those games was their 1-0 defeat at Derry City. Enda Curran put in the only goal of the game for the Candystripes. Sligo, the current FAI Cup holders (winning it in three of the last four years), will be looking to change their fortunes sooner rather than later. That may be difficult however as their next two games are Drogheda United (2nd position) at home and then away to the league leaders, Cork City.
The reigning LOI Champions are St Patrick’s Athletic. They have drawn three of their five games and had a very poor result last night, losing 1-4 at home to Dundalk.
At this early stage of the season Drogheda United are the only other unbeaten team (Cork City being the other) in the top flight of Irish football. Declan O’Brien banged in a hat-trick for Drogheda in their 3-2 win against Athlone Town on Friday night. Athlone remain rooted to the bottom of the table without a single point so far.
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