Premier Division round-up: Shamrock Rovers take leap towards historic title as Bohemians nudge clear of Shelbourne
Shamrock Rovers are edging closer to a fourth league title in a row thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Shelbourne on Friday night.
The Hoops maintained their five-point lead at the summit following their victory – with closest challengers Derry City trouncing UCD 6-0 at the same time.
But Stephen Bradley’s side need just eight points from their last four games to lift the Premier Division crown.
Graham Burke’s goal saw off Damien Duff’s side as his strike from outside the box beat Conor Kearns.
And while the ball came through a few bodies, the former UCD keeper will be disappointed that he could not keep the ball out of the net.
The evening was soured somewhat for Rovers late on when Burke was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
But it mattered little as the Hoops held on for another significant victory.
And the importance of it was laid bare after Derry City blitzed already-relegated UCD 6-0 at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Danny Mullen gave the Candystripes an early lead when he netted in the fifth minute.
Derry however had to wait until the second half to score again – but it was worth the wait.
Will Patching, Cameron McJannett, Brandon Kavanagh, Michael Duffy and Jamie McGonigle all scored.
Students skipper Jack Keaney also received a red card for two yellow cards.
Meanwhile, Dundalk saw off neighbours Drogheda United 3-1 at Oriel Park.
The win was the Lilywhites second victory in a row – and it keeps them within touching distance of the European places.
But they fell behind against the Drogs following Kyle Robinson’s 25th minute opener.
Paul Doyle levelled just six minutes before the break with Daniel Kelly and Patrick Hoban on target during the second period to see Dundalk over the line.
They remain three points behind Bohemians while Drogheda are all but safe for another year in the top-flight. They are 12 points clear of ninth-placed Cork City with four games left.
St Patrick’s Athletic maintained their European push with a 1-0 win away to the aforementioned Cork City.
The Leesiders had to play the last half-hour of the game with ten-men after John O’Donovan was dismissed with two yellow cards to his name.
And during that spell Jon Daly’s men made their numerical advantage count with a Mark Doyle winner.
The Gypsies ran out 3-1 winners over the Bit O’ Red with all four goals coming in the second half.
Two goals from Jonathan Afolabi either side of an Ali Coote hit sealed the deal for Declan Devine’s charges.
Pedro Martelo scored a consolation for Sligo late on.
Bohs are now two points ahead of Dublin rivals Shelbourne and four points behind third-placed St Patrick’s Athletic.