Championship semi-final second leg tonight…15/05/2019

The second Championship semi-final second leg took place at Elland Road this Wednesday evening and provided another dramatic outcome with visitors Derby County overturning the one goal lead secured by their hosts Leeds United at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon and also conceding an early goal this evening to emerge victorious by four goals to two on the night and four three on aggregate. Captain  Richard Keogh may have been a little culpable for the concession of the opening goal but his surging run and superb pass created the final and winning goal for the ‘Rams’. Eighteen year old midfielder Jason Knight was an unexpected inclusion on the Derby County bench.

The first Championship semi-final play-off was resolved this Tuesday evening when Aston Villa secured their passage to the Wembley play-off Final with a four three penalty shoot-out victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. Villa held a two one first leg advantage but despite dominating the majority of the first half exchanges they conceded a much disputed but essentially soft goal on twenty nine minutes which levelled the tie. Extra-time and the dismissal of the ‘Baggies’ captain brought no further goals so the contest went to a penalty shoot-out. The visitors prevailed by four goals to three with Saturday goalscorer Conor Hourihane converting the opening Villa penalty. Hourihane had a fine game in the holding midfield role while fellow midfielder Glenn Whelan was unused on the substitute bench.


UEFA U17 Championship quarter-finals today…13/05/2019

The two remaining quarter-final ties in the 2019 European U17 Championship Finals took place today, Monday the 13th May 2019.

Group D winners Italy got the ball rolling when they defeated Group C runners-up Portugal with the only goal in Tolka Park earlier this afternoon.

The remaining contest between Group C winners Hungary and Group D runners-up Spain took place at the UCD Bowl this evening where Spain eventually prevailed in a penalty shoot-out by 5 goals to 4 after the sides had played out a one all draw.

The fifth place play-off for a place at the World Championship Finals in Chile will be contested by Belgium and Hungary who will face each other in Tolka Park at noon on Thursday.

The semi-finals will also take place on Thursday with Holland and Spain getting the ball rolling in the UCD Bowl at 4.30pm while France and Italy meet in Tallaght Stadium at 7pm .



Chris Hughton exits Brighton & Hove Albion…13/05/2019

Brighton & Hove Albion have confirmed the departure of Chris Hughton and his immediate coaching staff from the Club. Following four and a half years, during which he re-ignited the Club, gaining promotion to the Premier League where they have performed for the past two seasons, the decision to dispense with his services comes as quite a shock. The Club Executive would appear to have grand ambitions and only time will tell if their decision to seek new team management will sate their appetite or whether they might follow the path of Ipswich Town whose dismissal of Mick McCarthy has resulted in that Club descending into the lower depths of League One or the Third Division in ‘old money’ if you prefer.  

European U17 Championship quarter-finals…12/05/2019

The 2019 European U17 Championship currently taking place in Ireland has reached the quarter-final stage with the first two contests taking place today, Sunday the 12th May 2019.

First into action at 1pm in Tallaght Stadium were Group B winners France who faced Group A runners-up the Czech Republic. A very fine French side crushed their opponents by six goals to one with star turn Adil Aouchiche scoring four goals. France will meet  the winners of tomorrow’s Italy/Portugal quarter-final at Tolka Park, in the semi-final on Thursday afternoon.

The second quarter-final took place in the Carlisle Grounds at 7pm and saw Group B runners-up Holland defeat Group A winners Belgium by three goals to nil. Holland will face the winners of tomorrow’s Hungary/Spain quarter-final at the UCD Bowl in the second semi-final on Thursday afternoon.

Premier League finale on Sunday afternoon…12/05/2019

The destination of the 2019 Premier League Title was decided on Sunday afternoon when leaders Manchester City secured a comfortable four one victory over Shane Duffy and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium while second place Liverpool also secured a two nil victory over Matt Doherty and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield.
Fifth place Arsenal, whose very slim chance of attaining fourth place and Champions League qualification was not to be realised,  , secured a three one victory at Turf Moor over Burnley for whom Jeff Hendrick started to be replaced by Robbie Brady after eighty two minutes while Kevin Long and Stephen Ward were unused on the substitute bench. Tottenham Hotspur secured fourth place and entry to next season’s Champions League with a two all draw against visitors Everton for whom injury ruled out Seamus Coleman while James McCarthy was not included in their matchday squad. Teenage goalkeeper Mark Travers, who made a ‘man of the match’ Premier League debut for AFC Bournemouth last week, retained his place for the Selhurst Park meeting with Crystal Palace but there was no fairy tale outcome today as the hosts secured a five three victory. Cyrus Christie started for Fulham as they bade farewell to the Premier League this season with a crushing four nil Craven Cottage defeat by visitors Newcastle United for whom Ciaran Clark, who has been absent for some time, was named on the substitute bench. Also bidding adieu to this year’s Premier League were Cardiff City for whom the little used Greg Cunningham was again unused on the substitute bench as the ‘Bluebirds’ stunned Old Trafford with a two nil victory over hosts  Manchester United. The third relegated side Huddersfield Town drew one each with Southampton at St Mary’s where Shane Long was withdrawn at half-time.

Championship and Football League play-offs…12/05/2019

The first legs in the Championship semi-final play-offs took place on Saturday afternoon, with the Midlands clash of Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion first into action at 12.30pm in Villa Park. Glenn Whelan started in midfield for the hosts and his error after fifteen minutes led to the visitors taking the lead. Whelan, who otherwise had a fine match, was replaced by the more attack minded Conor Hourihane after sixty seven minutes and the change paid dividends as he struck the equaliser eight minutes later with a sublime left foot shot from twenty yards. Three minutes later, Villa took the lead from an undisputed penalty for a 2-1 victory. The second leg is set for the Hawthorns at 7.45pm on Tuesday evening. 
The first leg in the second semi-final took place at Pride Park later on Saturday afternoon where Derby County, skippered by Richard Keogh, went down to a one nil defeat by Leeds United. The second leg is set for Elland Road at 7.45pm on Wednesday evening.

League One
The first leg of the League One semi-final play-off between Sunderland and Portsmouth took place in the Stadium of Light this Saturday evening with the hosts prevailing by one goal to nil. Aiden McGeady was forced to withdraw following the recurrence of his leg injury during the pre-match warm up while Burnley loanee Jimmy Dunne was introduced from the substitute Bench on seventy minutes. Ronan Curtis, named in Mick McCarthy’s Ireland Training Squad this week, started for the visitors but was withdrawn on sixty nine minutes. The two sides were very familiar having faced each other in the League just two weeks ago and also having clashed in the EFL Trophy Final at Wembley four weeks earlier. They will get to know each other even more when the second leg takes place in Fratton Park on Thursday next.

The first leg of the second League One semi-final play-off between Doncaster Rovers and Charlton Athletic kick-off at 12.15pm on Sunday afternoon in the Keepmoat Stadium. West Ham United loanee Josh Cullen, who was also named in Mick McCarthy’s Ireland Training Squad this week, continued his excellent season long form for the visiting ‘Addicks’ as they secured a two one advantage for the second leg at the Valley next Friday evening. Kieran Sadlier was in the starting eleven for the hosts but could make little impression.

League Two
There is also Irish interest and involvement in the League Two play-off scenario.

The first leg in semi-final one took place at Rodney Parade this Thursday evening with Newport County playing host to Mansfield Town. Former Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers striker Padraig Amond and defender Mark O’Brien were key performers for the hosts, while the visitors included goalkeeper Conrad Logan and Stoke City loanee Ryan Sweeney in their starting eleven. The contest ended in a one all draw with Amond converting his late penalty after Logan had initially blocked the kick.
The second leg of this semi-final took place early on Sunday evening and ended scoreless. With the traditional away goal rule not in use for these play-offs, the contest went to a penalty shoot-out where Newport County prevailed by five goals to three with Padraig Amond among the successful scorers. Mark O’Brien was again in defence for the victors while Conrad Logan and loanee Ryan Sweeney were on the losing side.

The second semi-final first leg took place at Prenton Park on Friday evening with Tranmere Rovers scoring the only goal to defeat Forest Green Rovers who included the much travelled defender Gavin Gunning in their side, but he was dismissed after just fifteen minutes for violent conduct.
The second leg of this semi-final is set for The New Lawn at 7.45pm on Monday evening.

Airtricity League action this weekend…11/05/2019

There were just three Airtricity League Premier Division fixtures played this Friday evening. The Dalymount Park meeting of Bohemian and Dundalk topped the bill with the visiting ‘Lilywhites’ emerging victorious by two goals to nil to leapfrog Shamrock Rovers at the summit on goal difference. Cork City continued  their revival with a two nil victory over UCD in Turner’s Cross while Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic shared the spoils with a one all draw in the Brandywell.

On Saturday evening Waterford and Sligo Rovers played out an eventful three all draw in the RSC, with the lead changing hands three times. The visitors had the opportunity to secure all three points but missed a penalty with just six minutes remaining. 

                            P   W  D  L   F   A   G/D  Pts
Dundalk                    16  10  4  2  28  10   18    34
Shamrock Rovers            16  11  1  4  24  10   14    34
Bohemian                   16   9  3  4  15   7    8    30
Derry City                 16   7  5  4  24  18    6    26
St Patrick’s Athletic      16   6  4  6  13  15   -2    22
Waterford                  16   5  5  6  23  23    –    20
Sligo Rovers               16   5  5  6  16  20   -4    20
Cork City                  16   5  4  7  14  18   -4    19
UCD                        16   3  1 12  13  31  -18    10
Finn Harps                 16   1  4 11  13  31  -18     7

There were also three contests played in the Airtricity League First Division on Friday evening with Drogheda United defeating Limerick by three goals to two in United Park while Shelbourne overcame Athlone Town by two goals to one in Tolka Park. The third fixture saw Wexford and Cobh Ramblers draw two each in Ferrycarrig Park.

The remaining contest took place on Saturday evening with Longford Town welcoming Cabinteely to the City Calling Stadium where the visitors scored the only goal to leapfrog their opponents at the summit of the League Table.

                            P  W  D  L   F   A    G/D  Pts
Cabinteely                 12  8  2  2  19  12     7    26
Longford Town              11  7  3  1  13   3    10    24
Shelbourne                 12  7  1  4  19  11     8    22
Drogheda United            12  6  2  4  21  18     3    20
Limerick                   12  5  3  4  12  11     1    18
Bray Wanderers             11  5  1  5  11   9     2    16
Cobh Ramblers              12  3  3  6  15  19    -4    12
Athlone Town               12  3  1  8  13  24   -11    10
Galway United              10  3  0  7  12  12     –     9
Wexford                    12  2  2  8  12  28   -16     8