There were just three contests played in the Airtricity League Premier Division on Friday evening. The top two, Cork City and Dundalk met in Turner’s Cross where a goal after just three minutes from Chris Shields proved the winner for the visiting ‘Lilywhites’ and all but ensured the Championship is Oriel Park bound. The basement contest between Bray Wanderers and Limerick at the Carlisle Grounds had a similar ‘all or nothing’ feel to it and the hosts fell further into the relegation abyss as they went down to a two nil defeat leaving them twelve points adrift with just four matches remaining. Waterford leapfrogged Shamrock Rovers into third place with a one nil victory over visitors Sligo Rovers at the Regional Sports Centre.
There was one Championship contest played on Friday evening with Wigan Athletic, managed by former Sligo Rovers supremo Paul Cook, defeating their visitors Bristol City by one goal to nil. Callum O’Dowda was introduced from the substitute bench on the hour mark but was unable to spark a recovery for the ‘Robins’.
Head Coach Colin O’Brien ran the rule over the remaining members of his Ireland U17 squad in their second friendly encounter with Turkey in Tallaght Stadium early on Thursday afternoon and witnessed his charges produce another clinical performance in securing a four one victory. Shamrock Rovers defender Cian Kelly opened the scoring on seven minutes following a Matt Everitt corner and the Brighton & Hove Albion striker himself scored the second shorty afterwards. Fellow striker Darragh Burns of St Patrick’s Athletic was on hand to score the third after thirty minutes. Turkey did reduce the deficit on the stroke of half time but Ireland restored their three goal advantage when substitute Conor Carty of Wolverhampton Wanderers scored a stunning goal with an exquisite volley from the edge of the area. Head Coach Colin O’Brien expressed his satisfaction with the progress of this new group which benefits from the experience and knowledge of former international striker Kevin Doyle. The squad will regroup later this year with the Czech Republic, England and Germany set to provide the opposition in a further series of friendly engagements.
There was further Championship action on Wednesday evening with Middlesbrough and Darren Randolph defeating visitors Bolton Wanderers by two goals to nil to move up to second place one point behind leaders Leeds United. The ‘London Derby’ meeting of QPR and Millwall went the way of the hosts by two goals to nil at Loftus Road where recent Ireland debutants and goalscorers Aiden O’Brien and Shaun Williams were pretty anonymous for the visiting ‘Lions’. Sheffield United had John Egan in defence for their scoreless draw with visitors Birmingham City while David McGoldrick was introduced from the bench on the hour mark. Recent international debutant Enda Stevens was relegated to the bench for the first time this season.
The one remaining FAI Cup quarter-final between last Sunday’s EA Sports Cup winners Derry City and in-form Bohemian took place in the Brandywell this Wednesday evening and saw the visiting ‘Gypsies’ emerge as comfortable three one victors. They will now face holders Cork City in the semi-final at Dalymount Park on Sunday the 30th September at 5.45pm with RTE 2 providing live coverage.
Our Amateur International side are out of contention for the finals of the 2019 UEFA Regions Cup following their one all draw with Slovakia in their Group Two qualifying contest in Buzau early this Wednesday afternoon. The group winners only qualify for the finals and with just one point from their opening two fixtures, Ireland can not now qualify. We will face England, who are still in contention to qualify for the finals, in our closing contest at 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Our U17 side commenced their lengthy preparation journey to the 2019 European Championship Finals with a three nil victory over Turkey in a friendly international played at Tallaght Stadium this Tuesday evening. Brighton & Hove Albion striker Matt Everitt gave Ireland the interval lead with the opening goal eight minutes before the half-time break and late strikes from Conor Carty of Wolverhampton Wanderers and late substitute Joshua Giurgi of Norwich City set the seal on a fine performance. The sides will meet again at 1pm on Thursday afternoon in the same venue.