FA Cup Quarter-Final
The one remaining FA Cup quarter-final tie between Millwall and Brighton & Hove Albion, to determine who would face Manchester City in the semi-finals, took place at the New Den this Sunday afternoon and saw Chris Hughton‘s Brighton & Hove Albion progress after a poor contest but with a dramatic ending. The hosts, currently struggling in the Championship, included Aiden O’Brien, Shaun Williams and Derby County loanee Alex Pearce in their starting eleven while Shane Duffy filled his centre back role for the Premier League visitors. The visitors were far from their best but might have progressed in normal time save for some dreadful errors by the match officials. Shane Duffy was clearly fouled in the home area and a penalty kick should have ensued while the opening goal for the ‘Lions’ should have been disallowed for a clear foul in the area following a corner kick. That opening score on 70 minutes was converted by Alex Pearce and when Aiden O’Brien scored a fine second on seventy nine minutes, the ‘Seagulls’ looked doomed. With eighty eight minutes on the clock, Brighton reduced the deficit and in the fifth and final minute of added time they equalised. Brighton then totally dominated extra time but no further goals were recorded although they did score a perfectly legitimate goal which was erroneously ruled out for offside, thus compounding the officiating errors. The penalty shoot out was no less dramatic with Brighton missing the opening spot kick but following a later miss from the home side, justice was done with Brighton progressing on a five four shootout score line. The second semi-final will be between Watford and Matt Doherty‘s Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Fulham introduced Cyrus Christie from their substitute bench after seventy three minutes of this afternoon’s Premier League contest with Championship chasing Liverpool at Craven Cottage where the visitors maintained their title challenge with a two one victory.
Following his late withdrawal through illness from last weekend’s defeat at Newcastle United, Seamus Coleman returned as expected to the Everton starting line up for their Premier League contest with Goodison Park visitors Chelsea later this Sunday afternoon. The host ‘Toffees’ gave a an insipid first half performance and the visitors should really have been out of sight but they failed to convert any of several scoring opportunities. The second period was dramatically different with the hosts bursting into life and scoring twice for a well merited victory. Captain Coleman was in excellent form during that second period and looked very much back to his best.
Burnley went down to a two one home defeat by Leicester City at Turf Moor in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. Robbie Brady was a seventy ninth minute substitute while Jeff Hendrick remained unused on the substitute bench. International retiree Stephen Ward and late call up Kevin Long have been out of favour recently and again found themselves missing from the matchday squad.
Matt Doherty and his Wolverhampton Wanderers colleagues are set to take on Molineaux visitors Manchester United in the FA Cup Sixth Round at 19.55hours on Saturday evening.
Elland Road hosted the ‘Yorkshire Derby’ meeting of Leeds United and Sheffield United at 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon and saw the visiting ‘Blades’ score the only goal to leapfrog their rivals into second place on the Championship League Table. The victors included John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick in their starting eleven with Aston Villa loanee Scott Hogan an unused substitute. Aston Villa included the evergreen Glenn Whelan in their starting eleven as they maintained their play-off challenge with a three nil victory over Middlesbrough and Darren Randolph at Villa Park. Alan Judge has been gaining plaudits for his performances with Ipswich Town and was again in action as they played out a one all draw with visitors Nottingham Forest at Portman Road. Sean Maguire scored the only goal for Preston North End four minutes into added time as they overcame their visitors Birmingham City. Injury ruled out Alan Browne but long term injury victim Callum Robinson returned to action as a sixtieth minute substitute. Sheffield Wednesday and Keiren Westwood defeated visitors Blackburn Rovers by four goals to two at Hillsborough while James McClean and Stoke City were held to a scoreless draw by visitors Reading.
Late international call-up Josh Cullen, on loan at Charlton Athletic from West Ham United, was in League One action in their scoreless draw at Bristol Rovers while James Collins was in action for leaders Luton Town who were held to a two all draw by visitors Gillingham at Kenilworth Road.
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy today named his revised twenty three man squad for the upcoming European Championship Qualifier against Gibraltar on Saturday the 23rd March 2019. The squad initially included Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne and Portsmouth striker Ronan Curtis but both have been forced to withdraw through injury. They have been replaced in the squad by Kevin Long and Josh Cullen who was not named in the original thirty eight man squad.
Following the announcement by Stephen Ward of his retirement from international football other notable absentees from the revised squad include Cyrus Christie, Scott Hogan, James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady. With the exception of McGeady, the other three have seen little front line action and their omission is not surprising. Also amongst the omissions are Daryl Horgan, David Meyler, Aiden O’Brien and Shaun Williams, none of whom come as a real surprise.
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph(Middlesbrough), Mark Travers(AFC Bournemouth), Keiren Westwood(Sheffield Wednesday)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman(Everton), Matt Doherty(Wolverhampton Wanderers), Shane Duffy(Brighton & Hove Albion), John Egan(Sheffield United), Richard Keogh(Derby County), Kevin Long(Burnley), Enda Stevens(Sheffield United)
Midfielders: Harry Arter(Cardiff City-on loan from AFC Bournemouth), Robbie Brady(Burnley), Josh Cullen(Charlton Athletic-on loan from West Ham United), Jeff Hendrick(Burnley), Conor Hourihane(Aston Villa), Alan Judge(Ipswich Town), James McClean(Stoke City), Callum O’Dowda(Bristol City), Glenn Whelan(Aston Villa)
Forwards: James Collins(Luton Town), Shane Long(Southampton), Sean Maguire(Preston North End), David McGoldrick(Sheffield United)
The Airtricity League Premier Division continued this Friday evening with all ten teams contesting match series six. Current leaders Shamrock Rovers maintained their position with a three nil victory over Sligo Rovers in Tallaght Stadium while Dundalk superseded Bohemian in second place with a two nil success over Derry City in the Brandywell while the ‘Gypsies’ went down to a two nil defeat by Cork City in Turner’s Cross. Promoted duo UCD and Finn Harps renewed acquaintance at the Bowl where the ‘Students’ cruised to a three nil victory to leapfrog their opponents at the foot of the league table. Waterford secured a two nil success over visitors St Patrick’s Athletic in the RSC.
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Shamrock Rovers 7 5 1 1 11 2 9 16
Dundalk 6 3 3 0 10 3 7 12
Bohemian 6 3 2 1 5 3 2 11
Cork City 6 3 1 2 8 7 1 10
Derry City 6 2 2 2 7 7 – 8
St Patrick’s Athletic 6 2 2 2 3 4 -1 8
Waterford 6 2 1 3 7 9 -2 7
Sligo Rovers 6 2 1 3 5 8 -3 7
UCD 6 1 1 4 5 9 -4 4
Finn Harps 7 0 2 5 6 15 -9 2
There were four Airtricity League First Division fixtures played on Friday evening, with Bray Wanderers being overtaken at the summit by Shelbourne, who defeated Wexford by three goals to nil in Tolka Park, while Bray went down to a one nil home defeat by Athlone Town in the Carlisle Grounds. Drogheda United suffered a crushing four one defeat by visitors Cabinteely in United Park while Limerick overcame Cobh Ramblers by three goals to one in the Markets Field.
Longford Town are set to welcome Galway United to the City Calling Stadium at 7.30pm on Saturday evening.
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Shelbourne 4 3 0 1 10 5 5 9
Bray Wanderers 4 3 0 1 6 1 5 9
Athlone Town 4 3 0 1 6 4 2 9
Cabinteely 4 2 1 1 8 7 1 7
Longford Town 3 1 2 0 4 1 3 5
Limerick 4 1 2 1 3 3 – 5
Drogheda United 4 1 1 2 5 7 -2 4
Galway United 3 1 0 2 6 4 2 3
Cobh Ramblers 4 1 0 3 7 9 -2 3
Wexford 4 0 0 4 3 17 -14 0
A number of Irish international auditions took place in the Championship on Wednesday evening. Birmingham City played host to Millwall for whom Aiden O’Brien and Shaun Williams received no opportunity to impress, remaining on the bench as their side prevailed by two goals to nil. Derby County captained by Richard Keogh locked horns with the visiting James McClean and his Stoke City colleagues at Pride Park in a contest which ended scoreless. Middlesbrough and Darren Randolph suffered a two one defeat by visitors Preston North End who included Alan Browne and Sean Maguire in their starting eleven at the Riverside Stadium. Browne was withdrawn through injury after just twenty two minutes and was replaced by Joe Rafferty who had made his debut as an added time substitute last Saturday. International retiree Daryl Murphy was a sixty second minute substitute for Nottingham Forest who went down to a three one home defeat by Aston Villa at the City Ground. Conor Hourihane started for the victors while Glenn Whelan was introduced for the final ten minutes.
Republic of Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny has named his first competitive squad for the upcoming 2021 European U21 Championship qualifier against Luxembourg. The match is set for Tallaght Stadium on Sunday the 24th March 2019 with a 5pm kick-off time.
Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu(Manchester City), Caoimhin Kelleher(Liverpool)
Defenders: Trevor Clarke(Shamrock Rovers), Barry Cotter(Ipswich Town), Darragh Leahy(Bohemian), Conor Masterson(Liverpool), Corey Ndaba(Ipswich Town), Lee O’Connor(Manchester United), Dara O’Shea(Exeter City-on loan from WBA), Liam Scales(UCD)
Midfielders: Conor Coventry(West Ham United), Jake Doyle-Hayes(Cambridge United-on loan from Aston Villa), Jamie Lennon(St Patrick’s Athletic), Daniel Mandroiu(Bohemian), Jayson Molumby(Brighton & Hove Albion), Connor Ronan(FC Dac 1904-on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Forwards: Aaron Drinan(Waterford-on loan from Ipswich Town), Zachery Elbouzedi(Waterford), Neil Farrugia(UCD), Adam Idah(Norwich City), Michael O’Connor(Linfield), Troy Parrott(Tottenham Hotspur), Simon Power(FC Dordrecht-on loan from Norwich City)
The draw for the second round of the 2019 EA Sports Cup was made today and is as follows:-
Bohemian v Cabinteely
Bray Wanderers v Shamrock Rovers
Cork City v Limerick/Cobh Ramblers
Derry City v Longford Town
Finn Harps v Sligo Rovers
Shelbourne v UCD
St Patrick’s Athletic v Dundalk
Waterford v Galway United
The ties are set to be played on Monday 1st/Tuesday 2nd April 2019