Any review of this Irish footballing year will be dominated by the impact of COVID-19 but penalty kicks will also be a factor - shootouts that Irish teams won and shootouts that Irish teams lost.
There was the Republic of Ireland being eliminated from their coronavirus delayed EURO 2020 play-off against Slovakia in a shootout, Bohemians loss to Fehérvár in Hungary and Peamount United exiting the Champions League on penalties to Glasgow City.
On a more (non-COVID-19) positive note we had the shootouts success for Dundalk beating Sheriff Tiraspol 5-3 in Moldova, a key step en-route to their successful qualification for the Europa League.
Then there was Shamrock Rovers coming out winners in an incredible 26 penalty shootout in Tallaght against Ilves Tampere to set up their tie against AC Milan.
In the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, the Hoops were awarded just the one penalty in their unbeaten 18 game championship winning league campaign. Last Friday night in the FAI Cup quarter-final away to Finn Harps, they were awarded three penalties in five minutes – with Aaron McEneff missing one and scoring two as the Hoops came from 2-0 down to ultimately win 3-2 with Graham Burke getting the winner from open play.
We crunched the penalty numbers from the extratime.com extensive match database to bring you some spotkick stats from this season with a comparison with last season too.
There were 18 penalties awarded in the 2020 Premier Division – with 15 scored (2020 PD 83% completion rate).
Bohs, Dundalk and Sligo Rovers were awarded three, two went to Cork City, Derry City and Shelbourne, two clubs only got one (Finn Harps and Shamrock Rovers) while St. Patrick’s Athletic and Waterford had no penalties in the league all season.
Ronan Coughlan was the only player to score more than a single spotkick – he converted all four he took for the Bit O’Red. The three misses came from players who also scored from 12 yards - Kit Elliot (Cork City), George Poynton (Shels) and Pat Hoban (Dundalk).
This season Hoban finished the top scorer in the league with ten goals including his one successful penalty. Last season, Dundalk were awarded the most spotkicks with 11 in total.
Hoban scored seven and missed two for the 2019 champions, John Mountney scored one while Chris Shields missed one. Bohs were next on the list, with the referee in their matches pointing to the spot ten times – they scored six and missed four.
There were 50 penalties awarded in the Premier Division last year – 36 were scored (2019 PD conversion 72%).
In the First Division this season, from the 28 penalties, an impressive 25 were scored (2020 FD 89% conversion) – compared with 34 scored from 44 awarded last year (2019 PD 77% conversion).
In the 2020 First Division season, both Athlone Town and Drogheda United earned the most spotkicks – Town converted all seven with Ronan Manning scoring four of them.
The Drogs missed one through Chris Lyons who also scored two, with Mark Doyle and Sean Brennan also scoring two each.
Kevin Knight took all four penos for Cabinteely – scoring three and missing one. Bray Wanderers, Galway United, Shamrock Rovers II and Wexford were awarded just the one penalty each and scored them all. Cobh Ramblers didn’t get one spotkick awarded to them.
The only other player in the First Division to miss a penalty was Yoyo Mahdy with the UCD player scoring the other two spotkicks that came the way of the Students. He finished top scorer in the First Division in 2020 with 15 goals including his two successful penalties.
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