Friday 27 April 2018

O'Sullivan strike can't save Athlone

In the most remarkable circumstances, Longford Town saw their lead at the top of the First Division gobbled down to a single slender point this weekend.

A 1-0 win for Athlone Town on Friday night turned up the pressure ever so slightly for Tony Cousins' side for their trip to Cork on Saturday evening to take on Cobh Ramblers. But headed goals from Josh O'Hanlon and Rhys Gorman handed the visitors to St. Colman's Park an early 0-2 lead and then the league's top scorer Davy O'Sullivan got in on the act as his neat turn and finish put the Town three goals to the good with just a quarter of the contest played.

Visiting defender Noel Haverty then offered Ramblers some hope when he tugged back Davin O'Neill in the penalty area. A red card and successful 12-yarder from Martin Deady quickly followed.

Despite their numerical advantage though, the side second from bottom in the First Division couldn't break down the league leaders and it wasn't until the 78th minute that they made their advantage count. Substitute Bobbi O'Donoghue was fouled in the area and Deady once again won his battle of wits with Town goalkeeper Chris Bennion.

Cobh now had ten minutes to snatch a point and in the 82nd minute they drew level. O'Neill found Donogue on the right flank and the replacement's cross was headed to the net by Roy Kenny.

And then the unthinkable happened two minutes later. O'Neill controlled the ball 35 yards from goal and swivelled before unleashing a searing volley that flew past Bennion to complete a sensational comeback.

O'Sullivan, David O'Neill and Corie Treacy all played the full part in this nightmare, while Gavin Doyle was sent on in the 82nd minute in place of Keith Gillespie.

There was another comeback featuring Co. Wicklow's League of Ireland stars this week. This one ends well for the men from the Garden County though.

Stephen Hurley and Adam Hanlon were once again both in Johnny McDonnell's starting XI as Shelbourne took on Limerick on Tolka Park. Lims striker Axel Bossekota fired the visitors ahead in the 17th minute but Shels levelled on 52 minutes.

Striker Lee Murtagh dispossessed a Limerick man and found Hanlon, who was playing in a more advanced role than usual. Hanlon controlled and quickly hit a low, left-footed effort that found the back of Limerick's net.

And the Arklow man had a hand in the Dublin side's winner too. He played the ball out to his left to Sean Brennan and the former Drogheda man played a cross into the six yard box that was tucked away by Murtagh.

That victory means Shels, who looked doomed a few weeks ago, are now just three points off ninth spot.

Bohemians are still next in Shels' sights. The Gypsies also had a successful weekend. A trip to the Carlisle Grounds yielded a 1-3 victory for the men without a manager. Bray youngster Chris Lyons played his part in the opener as it was he that was fouled by Ashford's Shane O'Connor for the penalty that broke the deadlock.

Shane Murray was ruled out with an ankle injury but he sat in the stands and roared louder than most in the stadium as Dinny Corcoran's two late strikes handed Bohs three precious points. That result sucked the Seagulls further into the mire and a point for UCD against Shamrock Rovers saw them leapfrog Wicklow's senior club.

Having fallen behind to an Eamon Zayed strike, the Students grabbed a point at Tallaght Stadium when Robbie Benson headed home a 65th minute equaliser. Earlier in the contest Hughie Douglas came to the away side's rescue when he hooked the ball clear after Ken Oman had met a Sean O'Connor free kick.

Those results now mean that just three points separate UCD, Bray, Bohemians and Shelbourne.

Wicklow People