Michael Obafemi in action for Swansea City. PA
Irish Eye

'Brilliant' Obafemi scores first Swansea goal, James McClean also on target across the water

There was plenty of Irish involvement in the Championship and further down the English leagues today.

MICHAEL OBAFEMI, JAMES McClean and Ronan Curtis were among the Irish internationals on target across the water today.

Swansea City boss Russell Martin praised the impact of Obafemi from the bench, after the striker netted his first goal for the club in their 2-1 Championship defeat to Birmingham City, who had Scott Hogan in their ranks.

The Irish international thought he had earned the Swans a share of the spoils against Birmingham City with a 77th-minute leveller. But Riley McGree netted a winner after Troy Deeney’s earlier effort, which was the Blues’ first goal in nearly 10 hours of football.

Obafemi – who scored after a Ryan Manning assist – was front and centre of his gaffer’s mind afterwards.

“I’m really pleased for him,” Martin said. “For Michael, that is testament to the hard work he has put in. He’s been brilliant this week, he’s worked really hard to get himself fully fit which is where we need him to be.

“I thought he had a real impact when he came on, obviously with his goal but he looked a real threat and hopefully that will relax him a little and he can settle into his stride and he’ll be very, very good for us no doubt.

“He hadn’t trained fully until this week, but this week he’s worked extremely hard in the gym and on the training pitch. The way he was with the guys in the dressing room at the Cardiff and West Brom games was fantastic, energising people, and that’s why he deserved to be back involved today.

“Thankfully for us he’s come through it and he’s done really well so that will give him loads of confidence.”

Elsewhere in the Championship, Dominic Solanke grabbed a double as unbeaten Bournemouth cruised to a 3-0 victory over Huddersfield to equal the club’s best start to a league season.

Striker Solanke bagged a first-half brace to take his tally to 11 goals for the season, before defender Lloyd Kelly added a third in the second half to keep the Cherries in control at the top of the table.

Mark Travers and Gavin Kilkenny again played central roles as Bournemouth established themselves as unbeaten in their first 14 matches this season, a statistic only matched by the 1961-62 side in the Old Third Division – with Liverpool the only other side in the top four English tiers yet to lose.

Both teams warmed up with messages printed on their T-shirts in support of Cherries winger David Brooks, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last week.

Meanwhile, Jayson Molumby played the full match and Callum Robinson came off the bench as West Brom saw off Bristol City with a 3-0 win. Callum O’Dowda was introduced after the hour-mark for Bristol, with Max O’Leary among the unused substitutes.

Darragh Lenihan’s Blackburn beat Reading 2-0 and Richard Keogh’s Blackpool saw off a hefty Irish contingent at Preston North End on the same scoreline. Alan Browne was sent off for the Lilywhites after his second yellow card in the 90th minute, while substitute Sean Maguire also saw yellow in a feisty encounter.

Mark McGuinness and James Collins both started for Cardiff City, who fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Middlesborough with manager Mick McCarthy sacked shortly afterwards.

Festy Ebosele played over an hour and Louie Watson was among the subs as Derby County and Coventry drew 1-1. Glen Rea’s Luton beat Sean McLoughlin’s Hull City 1-0, Alex Pearce and Dan McNamara’s Milwall were 2-1 winners over Stoke City. Sammie Szmodics and Jack Taylor started for Peterborough with Conor Coventry coming off the bench in a 2-1 win over Jimmy Dunne’s QPR.

In League One, McClean was on target in Wigan’s 2-0 away win over AFC Wimbledon. The Derryman was also booked in the latter stages a 76-minute-long appearance, with Will Keane playing most of the game for the Latics.

Curtis and Irish-eligible Marcus Harness combined to score the Portsmouth’s goals as they drew 2-2 at Accrington Stanley. Gavin Bazunu started in goal for Pompey, with Seamus Coneely in Accrington’s XI.

Plenty other Irish players were in action in the league: Troy Parrott, for one, appearing as an MK Dons substitute in a 3-0 loss to Rotherham, for whom Chiedozie Ogbene started.

And in League Two, Liam Kelly scored a goal and provided an assist as Rochdale’s Irish crew enjoyed a 3-2 victory over Sutton United.

Full run-down of Irish involvement down the leagues available here, at Irish Abroad>


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