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League of Ireland picture taking shape

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UNLUCKY Ruairi Keating had a goal disallowed for Galway United in their League of Ireland win over Wexford last weekend. Pic: Sportsfile

John Corless

THE Airtricity League was back again last weekend after the break for the cup matches.
In the Dublin derby Shamrock Rovers claimed the points over St Patrick’s Athletic on a 3-1 scoreline to move three clear at the top, with a game in hand over their fierce rivals.
Bohola’s John Mountney scored his first goal since joining Pat’s on the stroke of half-time, but it wasn’t enough and it’s difficult to see past the Tallaght men winning the title this season.  
Drogheda were surprised at home by an improving Waterford.
Drogheda boss Tom Clancy was critical of his side’s defending, describing the performance as ‘soft’ and adding that they are now in a serious relegation battle. This seems unlikely, as Longford seem to have booked the automatic relegation place already – early booking always being advisable.
And while Waterford are better than they were, they are sitting second from the bottom on 19 points - eleven behind Drogheda. Finn Harps, however, may have cause for concern.
They are one ahead of Waterford and could do with a few wins to ease the indigestion caused by the current league table. Both Harps and Sligo had a break last weekend, as they were due to play Bohemians and Dundalk respectively – both opponents being tied up with European matters.
It was business as usual for Galway United in the First Division, coming from a goal down at Wexford to win 3-1. Padraic Cunningham’s 55th minute equaliser was the Headford man’s 20th goal for the Tribesmen. Westport’s Ruairi Keating had an effort disallowed for Galway in the 21st minute while Gary Boylan from Belmullet came close late on.
Galway now sit joint second in the table, nine points behind Shelbourne.
The Dubliners surprisingly dropped points at home to Cobh.
UCD were sluggish in the first half at Cork, and went in one down at the break. They came back into the game in the second half and got a well-deserved equaliser on the hour from captain Jack Keaney; the Donegal man superbly curling a free kick to the net.  
Keaney is an unusual player for UCD. Normally the students field players who have no previous League of Ireland (or indeed senior) experience, but Keaney began his career with Sligo Rovers after completing his Leaving Cert and deferred his college-place for two years.
“I was full-time with Rovers,” he explained. “And I enjoyed every minute of it, but I wanted to go to college and that was why I left. I was living at home as well and I wanted to move out.”
Keaney has been a key man for UCD this season, and recently has operated in midfield alongside Paul Doyle from Mayo. This has freed up a place at the back, where Claremorris native Harvey O’Brien has slotted in comfortably.
Both Mayo men were impressive on Saturday night.
Athlone Town were the latest team to encounter the wrath of Treaty United.
Kiltimagh’s Micheál Schlingermann captained the side but couldn’t prevent the Midlanders from going down 4-1 at home. Treaty are in joint-second place with Galway.  
Athlone remain in sixth.

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