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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan Gary McCabe and Joseph Ndo of Sligo.
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Barstooler: 5 talking points from the weekend’s Airtricity League action
The Hoops fail to close the gap on Sligo, Drogheda get back to winning ways and one of the league’s brightest youngsters receives international recognition.

Hoops can’t reel Sligo in

SHAMROCK ROVERS WENT into last night’s game with Sligo knowing a win was crucial if they are to have any hope of catching the Bit O’Red and claiming a third Premier Division title on the trot this season. And their task was made all the more difficult when Mark Quigley blasted home a volley from 25 yards just before the half-time whistle.

Ronan Finn did give the home fans something to shout about five minutes after the interval with a well-taken equaliser but Stephen Kenny’s side were unable to find a winner and still trail their rivals, who have a game in-hand, by seven points with ten matches to play.

Fagan strikes again for Saints

Not for the first time this year, St Patrick’s Athletic had Christy Fagan to thank for a victory when the striker scored the only goal of the game against Cork City at Turner’s Cross on Monday night.

Fagan caught substitute Darren Meehan’s cross on the half-volley to find the back of the net for his eighth league goal of the campaign. The 23-year-old former Manchester Unite trainee has been in fine form both domestically and as part of the Saints’ European exploits and deservedly scooped the Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for July.

The Inchicore club have third place in their sights and currently trail Shamrock Rovers by a single point.

Drogs back to winning ways

After falling victim to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Sligo Rovers in the top of the table clash last weekend, Drogheda United got back to winning ways in the league at home to Bohemians. Fabio O’Brien’s penalty, his 100th league goal in Irish football, proved the difference between the sides on the night.

The Louth outfit may not have been firing on all cylinders and were a little lucky not to concede a penalty when Derek Prendergast blocked a goal-bound effort with his arm but the important thing was to get back to winning ways with another massive fixture to come against Shamrock Rovers at Hunky Dorys Park this Friday.

Crazy decision at Tolka

Shelbourne hosted UCD at Tolka Park and Alan Mathews was rightly upset with the match officials after his team were robbed of a clear penalty in the second half. Paddy Kavanagh’s cross struck the arm of Mick Leahy before referee Graham Kelly pointed to the spot. However, after consulting his assistant, Kelly changed his mind and instead awarded a free-kick a couple of yards outside the box.

It’s not just a contentious decision. He was so far in the box, he’s almost nearer to the goal,” Mathews remarked during a post-match interview with RTE’s MNS.

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The three points for Martin Russell’s men means they are now just two behind Dundalk at the bottom of the table.

International recognition for Corry

Paul Corry in action this season. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Fresh from scoring a superb late winner at Tolka Park over the weekend, UCD midfielder Paul Corry has been called up to the Ireland U21s for tonight’s qualifier against Turkey at the Showgrounds.

Due to the withdrawal of Aston Villa’s Samir Carruthers, Noel King has drafted the 21-year-old former Belvedere schoolboy and it is no less than he deserves after a terrific season for the Students.

Tributes from football legends, teammates and Green Army flood in for retiring Given

John Delaney: Shay Given was certainly one of our greatest players