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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

Irish eye: It's all white on the night for Long and Keane in Championship

Shane Long hits twice on a weekend when the schedule is decimated by the adverse weather.

Image: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

THE MAJORITY OF sporting fixtures across Britain had to be cancelled this weekend as snow kept flights grounded and called a halt to public transport.

However, a few Championship matches did take place, most notably Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town running up a resounding 3-0 win over Leicester City.

Shane Long

With so few matches taking place, there were only a handful of Irishmen in action on the field on Saturday.

The best of the lot had to be Reading’s Shane Long who scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in a 2-1 away win at Derby’s Pride Park.

Long’s opener was a penalty, after he had been brought down by Shaun Barker. The scores were level after an hour when fellow Irishman Paul Green crossed for Kris Commons to head home, but it was to be Long’s day, as he struck with just two minutes to go in normal time.

With neither Kevin Doyle nor Robbie Keane in action due to postponed Premier League games, Long’s brace will no doubt warm up Giovanni Trapattoni and his staff.

Roy Keane

The former Irish captain Roy Keane finally saw his side winning on the seventh time of asking, as they turned a run of six defeats into their first win in the league since the sixth of November.

However, it looked as if this match was also going to be a victim of the snow when play was halted for 17 minutes in the second half with Keane’s men leading 3-0.

Perhaps fearing uproar from Keane, referee Stuart Atwell decided to play out the rest of the game, keeping Keane in his job until after Christmas at least.

Three Irishmen featured on the pitch, Shane O’Connor and Mark Kennedy for Ipswich, and loan signing Greg Cunningham for Leicester.

O’Connor was the brightest of the trio, getting involved further up the pitch than he may be used to, and
setting up striker Jason Scotland for Ipswich’s third.

Alex Bruce

After being involved in a car accident on Thursday, Leeds United defender Alex Bruce was doubtful for Saturday’s game against Paddy Kenny’s QPR, but made the starting lineup after being declared fit.

However, his afternoon run-out did not last very long, as he was hauled off with a groin injury after just 10 minutes.

It was to be a second successive defeat in a row for QPR, whose lead at the top of the table slipped to three points, with Saturday’s victors, Leeds United, moving up to take second spot.

John O’Flynn

Just one match took place in the third tier in England, with Exeter comfortably defeating Sheffield Wednesday.

There were no matches in League Two, but this League One match saw three Irish in action. The visitors looked to go top with a win, and should have been confident after their 6-2 demolition of Bristol Rovers last weekend.

They were not expecting such a strong performance from Exeter, who dominated the second half, winning 5-1. Darren Potter and Clinton Morrison were ineffective for Wednesday, but substitute John O’Flynn had a great impact when he came on for the home side, scoring his fifth goal of the season.

Ronan Hunt-Murphy writes about Irish football at GreenScene

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Ronan Hunt Murphy

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