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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Irish Eye: it's Long way up for Royals

Ronan Hunt-Murphy on a mixed day for our boys in England’s lower divisions.

Reading's Irish strikers Shane Long, right, and Noel Hunt celebrate their side's first goal.
Reading's Irish strikers Shane Long, right, and Noel Hunt celebrate their side's first goal.
Image: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

A BUSY DAY in the Football League yesterday saw a few Irish goalscorers, as well as a Corkman condemning Roy Keane to his 12th loss of the season.

Shane Long

It was another prolific day for the Ireland international striker, who moved his tally to six goals in five games with another double yesterday against Burnley.

Long scored in each half to give Reading another victory, despite the Royals going behind after just half an hour. It was always going to be a difficult match for Burnley, following manager Brian Laws’ sacking, but the away side took the lead in the 28th minute thanks to a Ross Wallace goal.

This lead was short-lived, however, as Noel Hunt headed on for Long to score three minutes later. After the break, both Irish strikers went close, but it was to be the former Cork City man’s day as he headed home a Jobi McAnuff cross with 20 minutes to go.

The win keeps Reading in contention of a playoff poisition, sitting just two points behind sixth placed Watford.

Liam Lawrence

Irish midfielder Liam Lawrence’s loan had been made permanent on Saturday from Stoke, and the 13-time Ireland international once again led the way with an impressive display against Hull City, but it was not enough for Portsmouth as they slumped to another defeat.

Lawrence had a few shots on target early in the game, but Aston Villa loanee Brad Guzan stayed strong in the Hull goal. Hull had only a few shots on target, but made them count as they won 3-2.

A cool penalty from Lawrence was not enough on the day, and they lie just five points clear of safety.

Roy Keane and Damien Delaney

A Damien Delaney own goal was enough to provide Roy Keane with his 12th loss in 24 league games this season, and keep them locked in a relegation battle.

In first-half stoppage time, Delaney attempted to clear a cross but he miskicked and the ball ended up in his own net. Fellow Irishman Mark Kennedy also started the match for Ipswich, but it was Conor Wickham who provided the creative spark.

However, for all his attacking prowess, Ipswich could not find a way past an on-form Lee Camp in the Nottingham Forest goal.

Barry Corr and Kane Ferdinand

Further down the divisions, three Irishmen started for Southend United in their League Two tie with Cheltenham Town. Regular first teamers Barry Corr and Graham Coughlan were joined by Ireland U-18 defender Kane Ferdinand.

Ferdinand (a cousin of Man Utd’s Rio) made his first team debut in the previous game against Oxford United, and was called upon again to fill-in in midfield in an injury-ravaged Southend side.

However, his run of matches didn’t last long, and he was forced off injured after just 18 minutes. Barry Corr fared better, scoring his 10th goal of the season.

It wasn’t enough for Southend, and they lost 2-1 on the day. However, Ferdinand’s injury doesn’t look too bad, and he should be back in action sooner rather than later.

Ronan hunt-Murphy writes about Irish football at Greenscene

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