Gardai attempt to clear fans off the pitch at Dalymount Park. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
after thoughts

Ugly scenes overshadow Dublin derby and the weekend's League of Ireland talking points

The brother of an Ireland winger shone for Derry City, while Dundalk edged out Sligo at home and Cork had to settle for a point.

Fans clash at Dalymount Park

SHAMROCK ROVERS’ SPLENDID performance at Dalymount Park was marred by the crowd trouble that followed their final goal in a tense Dublin derby.

The away side’s emphatic victory was overshadowed by the eruption of violence and the actions of a minority of opposing supporters who mindlessly invaded the pitch near the conclusion of a fiery contest.

The game was decided well before the crowd disturbances though as Rovers bounced back to show their mettle and reignite their title challenge with a quartet of exquisite finishes, including Gavin Brennan’s sweet left-footed strike from distance to cap a sumptuous second-half display from Pat Fenlon’s men.

The Hoops boss will be very pleased to have got a reaction from his players after the heavy loss at the Brandywell questioned their title credentials but the level of performance and result against their Dublin rivals moved them back on track.

- Sean O’Neill 

Dundalk’s struggling to hit top form at home

Aside from a 3-0 win over Finn Harps on matchday two, a game in which the vistors to Oriel Park showed little to no ambition, Dundalk’s home form has been something of a curiosity. Since then, a defeat to Cork City has been followed by a draw against Derry and a narrow and uninspiring win against Sligo on Friday.

These results are at odds with away success at the Carlisle Grounds, Inchicore, Ferrycarrig and Longford. Four from four.

Perhaps it is just the opposition that has come to Oriel thus far – Cork games are always tight, Derry are very resilient and Sligo have shown their doggedness in recent weeks. But are Dundalk struggling to break teams down at home? The results thus far would say yes.

A sign of things to come?

- Barry Landy

Rebels salvage a point thanks to own-goal

Seven days previous Galway won a dour encounter with Finn Harps 1-0 at Eamonn Deacy Park. On Friday they played out a thrilling tie in front of 1,557 at the Galway venue.

The hosts led 2-1 thanks to a fabulous strike from Gary Shanahan, but they couldn’t hold on as a 68th minute own-goal from Killian Cantwell gave Cork City a share of the spoils.

This could be the most entertaining game played at the ground all season, but looking back on it, Galway manager Tommy Dunne would have taken another ugly win.

Cork, meanwhile, may be unbeaten in three but they badly need to defeat Finn Harps this Friday after picking up just three from nine points since that superb 1-0 win away to champions Dundalk.

- Daragh Small 

Harps proving difficult to beat at Finn Park

After arguably their best performance of the season on Monday night, Finn Harps were ruing a 2-1 loss at the hands of St Patrick’s Athletic, while the Ballybofey side were not at their usual intensity on Friday against Bray Wanderers but still left with three points.

Ollie Horgan’s team are certainly proving to be a tough nut to crack at Finn Park and showed the willingness to grind it out.

They’ve picked up nine of their 10 points on home turf this season and Friday’s win was important with dauntingly long trips to Cork City and Wexford Youths in their next two fixtures.

Mick Cooke was content enough with the performance in light of recent weeks but the Bray manager would certainly have liked to his side create more goalscoring chances despite a barrage of crosses and corner-kicks.

- Alan Foley

Clinical finishing the difference for Saints

After Mark Timlin’s opener, Christy Fagan’s 10th-minute volley gave St Patrick’s Athletic a two-goal cushion after Danny Furlong’s strike hit the woodwork seconds earlier.

Wexford looked to get straight back into the game three minutes after the hosts took the lead with Furlong collecting a threaded ball from Paul Murphy only to be denied by the far post.

Pat’s capitalised by beginning an attack, Fagan controlled the left wing cross on his chest volleying past Graham Doyle for his sixth of the season.

The confidence visibly drained from the Wexford players, while Pat’s continued their high-pressing game in the opposition’s third and Conan Byrne added two more goals to make it 4-0.

- Dave Hooper

McClean following in is brother’s footsteps

When Aaron Barry limped off the pitch on 37 minutes with a hip problem with Derry City chasing a 1-0 deficit, his replacement Patrick McClean was to have a major impact on the outcome of this clash.

The brother of West Brom and Ireland winger James proved he’s got a wand of a left foot as his ferocious 35-yard strike rescued a point for the visitors. Surely a contender for goal of the season.

- Simon Collins 

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