Friday 21 June 2019

Saints boss rues key misses

Sligo Rovers 1 St Patrick's Athletic 1

St Patrick's Athletic manager Harry Kenny faces a tough Europa League test against Swedish side IFK Norrkoping. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
St Patrick's Athletic manager Harry Kenny faces a tough Europa League test against Swedish side IFK Norrkoping. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

St Pat's boss Harry Kenny admitted he feared his team were never going to score in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.

It took Kevin Toner less than 60 seconds to cancel out Jack Keaney's fortuitous opener for the home side.

But having missed a number of chances prior to that - particularly a close-range effort from Mikey Drennan - Kenny worried it was going to be one of those nights.

"It's unlike Mikey because he is very good in positions like that, and he is disappointed not to have taken it," said Kenny. "It wasn't our night in front of goal, but I was happy that we created a few chances and hopefully we can take them in the future."

Gary Shaw went closest to opening the scoring in the first half, with a powerful shoot rattling Ed McGinty's crossbar.

The Rovers keeper had to make good saves from David Webster, Shaw and Coleman in the second half, but Brendan Clarke also had to be sharp to deny Romeo Parkes, Ronan Murray and Lewis Banks.

The opening goal came when Keaney's free-kick deflected past Clarke, but Toner responded with a smart finish straight after.

Sligo - McGinty, Morahan, Keaney, Callan-McFadden, Banks, Warde, Fordyce (Twardek 86), Cawley, Coughlan, Murray, Parkes.

St Pat's - Clarke, Madden, Webster, Toner, Kelly, Bermingham, Markey (Forrester 83), McCabe, Coleman, Drennan, Shaw (Walker 90).

Ref - J McLoughlin.

Ruthless Dundalk pull clear at top

Finn Harps 0 Dundalk 3

Less than eight weeks ago Dundalk were 13 points behind Shamrock Rovers, but they adjourn for the mid-season break sitting top of the pile following Saturday's routine win in Ballybofey.

Headers from Michael Duffy and John Mountney had the Lilywhites in cruise control at the interval, before Brian Gartland added a third as Vinny Perth's side took full advantage of Rovers' slip-up against Derry City to move five points clear at the summit.

Ollie Horgan handed former Donegal GAA player Mark Anthony McGinley his Harps debut and the goalkeeper was beaten after 32 minutes. Patrick McEleney pounced on a misplaced pass to set Mountney away on the right and his stunning cross was met by a header to match from Duffy.

The champions doubled their lead two minutes before half-time. Patrick Hoban pushed the ball to McEleney and his cross was headed home by Mountney.

Harps showed endeavor, with Gary Rogers making a couple of fine saves, but Dundalk wrapped it up when Gartland met a Jordan Flores free-kick on the hour.

FINN HARPS - McGinley, Cowan, Logue (Harkin 71), O'Reilly, Borg, Todd, Coyle, Walsh (Timlin 59), Russell, Place, Cretaro (Boyle 63).

DUNDALK - Rogers, Gannon, Gartland, Cleary, Massey, Shields (Hand 88), Flores, Mountney (D Kelly 75), McEleney, Duffy (G Kelly 66), Hoban.

REF - D McGrath.

Wasteful Hoops lose ground in title battle

Shamrock Rovers 2 Derry City 2

Declan Devine hailed the character of his dogged Derry City players as they refused to lie down for Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday night.

Rovers dominated for spells but wasted a host of chances and this result sees them slip five points behind leaders Dundalk.

Even when they fell 2-0 behind in the second half, Derry kept playing and got their reward from a late Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe equaliser.

"We showed great spirit," said Candystripes boss Devine. "But I think Shamrock Rovers will be disappointed they weren't out of sight. Peter Cherrie was excellent for us. Our goalkeeper gave us a great platform to get us back into the game.

"We were down a lot of bodies and we're a very young and inexperienced squad. The players showed tremendous character to get us back into the game."

After a tame first half, the goals flowed early in the second. Rovers deservedly took the lead on 52 minutes from left-back Trevor Clarke's cracking first goal of the season. Jack Byrne added to that three minutes later when surging forward to drill a low shot to the bottom corner.

Crucially, Derry hit back within two minutes, Ciaran Coll heading home from skipper Barry McNamee's cross for his first goal for the club.

Ogedi-Uzokwe then completed the comeback on 84 minutes, scrambling home after Alan Mannus could only parry a header from Greg Sloggett.

Rovers manager Stephen Bradley refused to suggest that it could prove a costly two points dropped.

"There is a long way to go. There are too many games left to be even thinking like that," said Bradley.

"We just need to keep doing what we're doing because that performance was top class. We dominated. It should have been four or five and over.

"There will be a lot more twists and turns between now and the end of the year. If we keep playing like that, we'll be right there."

Shamrock Rovers - Mannus, O'Brien, Lopes, Grace, Clarke; Bolger, Byrne (Boyle 79); B Kavanagh (S Kavanagh h-t), Finn, Carr, Greene (Coustrain 67).

Derry City - Cherrie, McDonagh, Toal, Kerr (Gilchrist 79), Coll, Ogedi-Uzokwe, Sloggett, Bruna, Harkin (Delap 77), McNamee, Parkhouse (Stokes 64).

ReF - D Tomney (Dublin).

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