Waterford spirits are raised with convincing victory
Waterford 2 Cork City 0
A long 24 hours for Waterford ended with a welcome win last night. Second-half goals from Shane Duggan and Zack Elbouzedi at the RSC punctuated the grief inside the stadium caused by their Europa League expulsion.
Waterford football has been deep in the news this week, and not for the right reasons.
John Delaney, who rose through the FAI ranks after representing the club on the national council, is on gardening leave.
It that surprised the football people of Waterford, then Thursday's developments about the club's European place was shocking.
For all the public expressions of optimism conveyed by Delaney and his League Director Fran Gavin about the club receiving an exemption to the three-year rule from Uefa, it ultimately died a death.
Recriminations have followed, not just from Waterford owner Lee Power, insistent they will pursue compensation from the FAI, but also in the stand last night.
Waterford's fans had stayed loyal to their local legislator in recent weeks but they made their feelings known with a barrage of chants against Delaney last night.
On the field, Duggan's wand of a left foot supplied the breakthrough with 15 minutes left before Elbouzedi broke away to notch the second deep into stoppage time. Waterford's third straight home victory stretched City's winless run to five matches.
The visitors started brightly and Graham Cummins' close-range volley on the half-hour was spilled by Matt Connor. Garry Buckley followed in to score from the rebound, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
By that stage, Kevin Lynch had gone close with a curling free-kick which Mark McNulty tipped over. Waterford finished the first half the stronger, with Elbouzedi blazing a sitter over the bar and Bastien Hery driving a ferocious 25-yard drive wide of the near post.
On 52 minutes, Duggan cut back onto his left foot, forcing McNulty to dive full-stretch and palm away his curling shot. Waterford's dominance began to tell as Rory Feely's header was kept out only by Dan Casey's goal-line clearance.
With Cork retreating, the Blues sensed blood and their former midfielder Duggan was the one to strike first.
He was afforded too much time 20 yards out to shimmy past his marker and unleash a shot which zipped beyond McNulty.
Cork failed to muster much by way of a comeback aside from a half-chance for Dan Smith which Waterford repelled by conceding a corner.
When the delivery was cleared, Elbouzedi showed his pace by darting all the way up the pitch to stroke the ball past the advancing McNulty.
WATERFORD - M Connor; A Simpson (G Poynton 73), R Feely, D Delaney, K Lynch (K Chvedukas 56); Z Elbouzedi, B Hery, JJ Lunney, S Duggan, A Drinan; I Akinade (D Walsh 90+2).
CORK CITY - M McNulty; C McCarthy, D Casey, S McLoughlin, S Griffin; C McCormack (D O'Connor 76), G Morrissey; J Tilley, G Buckley, G Cummins (D Rainsford 82); D Crowley (D Smith 67).
Referee - Neil Doyle (Dublin).
Bohemians 3 UCD 0
Bohemians moved back up to second in the Premier Division with a commanding win over UCD at Dalymount Park.
Buoyed by their comeback victory at the expense of Cork City last Monday, it was UCD who applied the early pressure. After Richie O'Farrell headed a Gary O'Neill corner against the bar, Gypsies netminder James Talbot produced a superb save from Yoyo Mahdy on 25 minutes.
Having weathered this initial storm, Keith Long's hosts eventually opened the scoring just shy of the interval. Following Mark Dignam's foul on Bohs winger Danny Grant, Dinny Corcoran coolly dispatched a 43rd-minute penalty.
UCD could consider themselves unfortunate to be trailing their Dublin rivals, they were ruthlessly exposed on the resumption. Grant picked out an unmarked Conor Levingston in the 51st minute and the industrious midfielder fired home in clinical fashion.
Four minutes later, Danny Mandroiu's long-range shot crashed off the woodwork, but Grant tucked away the rebound to put the game beyond doubt.
BOHEMIANS - Talbot; Lyons, Finnerty, Barry, Leahy; Buckley (McCourt 76), Levingston; Grant (Reghba 73), Mandroiu, Devaney (Graydon 69); Corcoran.
UCD - Kearns; Tobin, Scales, Collins, Dignam (Davis 64); Farrugia, Doyle, O'Neill, O'Farrell, McClelland (Molloy 64); Mahdy (McDonald 64).
REF - P Tuite (Dublin).
Dundalk 3 Finn Harps 0
Daniel Kelly had a very Good Friday by helping himself to a hat-trick as Dundalk swept Finn Harps away.
A scrappy first half saw both sides lose players to serious-looking injuries with Dundalk skipper Brian Gartland and Harps 'keeper Ciarán Gallagher leaving with damage to their jaw and arm respectively.
Dundalk made the breakthrough in the second of nine additional minutes when Kelly met Michael Duffy's cutback with a classy first-time finish from 18 yards.
The 22-year-old doubled his tally just 99 seconds after the restart, smacking an unstoppable right-footed effort into Peter Burke's top corner. Struggling Harps, who went close through Robert O'Reilly and Mikey Place early on, never recovered from conceding a second.
Kelly completed his hat-trick with eight minutes to go when he swept the ball across Burke after a good move involving Patrick Hoban and Seán Gannon.
And the former Bohemians man should have had a fourth before the end but lost his footing just as he was ready finish off a Hoban pass.
DUNDALK - Rogers; Gannon, Hoare, Gartland (Cleary 12), Massey; Shields, McEleney (McKee 71); D Kelly, McGrath, Duffy (Mountney 80), Hoban.
FINN HARPS - C Gallagher (Burke 28); Kavanagh, Cowan, Todd, O'Reilly; Coyle (M Gallagher 74), McNamee; McAleer, Cretaro (Boyd 56), Boyle; Place.
REF - R Harvey
St Patrick's Athletic 2 Sligo Rovers 1
A week that began with abject defeat to Derry City ended sweetly for St Pat's as they capped the news that they look likely to be playing in the Europa League this summer with this deserved victory.
A moment of opportunism from Chris Forrester sparked the game to life on 15 minutes as there was to be no happy return for Sligo boss Liam Buckley to Inchicore.
Pouncing on a mistake by Sligo defender John Mahon, Forrester lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney for his first goal for the club since his return.
Mikey Drennan, back from a three-match suspension, worked Beeney afterwards before further sloppy defending cost Sligo a second goal on 24 minutes.
Drennan again got away to cut past Mahon only for the young defender to clumsily bring him down inside the area. And Drennan calmly sent Beeney the wrong way from 12 yards for his fourth goal of the season.
Though St Pat's remained on top throughout the second half, they had a nervous finish when Sligo skipper David Cawley drilled home on 88 minutes.
ST PAT'S - B Clarke; Webster, Kelly, Desmond; Madden, Forrester (Coleman, 79), McCabe, Clifford, Bermingham; Drennan, Shaw (Walker, 90+2).
SLIGO ROVERS - Beeney; Dunleavy, Leverock, Mahon, Banks; Morahan (Twardeck, h-t), Cawley; Keaney (Warde, 76), Fordyce (Kerrigan, 69), Coughlan; Parkes.
Ref - Rob Hennessy (Clare).