Its been a busy Easter Weekend of action in the SSE Airtricity League with 16 games over 4 days. Here's our take-aways
1) Chris Forrester is a genius and he's dragging Pats back into contention
Alright so we didn't learn he was a genius, we knew that, but he's added consistency this season and Pats have now won 4 straight in the league. The midfielder has scored 5 goals in his last 5 games and created goals for Christy Fagan and Conan Byrne in that run too. With Keith Fahey approaching peak fitness, Pats could be a scary side going forward if they all click.
2) Stephen O'Donnell will be a huge loss to Dundalk
We picked Stephen O'Donnell on our LOI Most Hated XI but no right-minded person wants to see a player as good as O'Donnell miss nearly a full season through injury. O'Donnell has been superb since moving to Dundalk and they'll miss his leadership in midfield. He tore his anterior and poster cruciate ligaments in a clash with Shamrock Rovers' Shane Robinson. He was quick to absolve Robinson of any blame;
Just to clarify nothing wrong with Shane robinsons tackle we both went in aggressively to win the ball but unfortunately I came out worse!
— Stephen O Donnell (@StephenODonne6) April 18, 2014
Dundalk drew that game after missing a host of chances before allowing Ronan Finn to score in injury time for 10 man Rovers. yesterday they struggled to beat pointless Athlone, converted a dispute penalty in injury time.
3) Sligo Rovers are coming back to life
Following on from last week's thrashing of Pats in the Setanta Cup, Sligo continued their goalscoring form over the weekend beating UCD 5-0 and Bohs 2-0. The top 4 of Cork City, Dundalk, St Pats and Shamrock Rovers still have a gap of 4 points on Sligo but there's no doubting they have the talent to make up that gap. Importantly for Rovers, forwards Aaron Greene and Danny North got their first league goals of the season.
4) Roddy Collins Derry City side are boring...
Very rarely has boring been used in the same sentance as Roddy Collins but it perfectly describes his Derry side. There's only been 4 scoreless draws so far this season and 3 of them have involved Derry City. They were lucky to get a draw in Bray (Bray missed a penalty) on Good Friday. Yesterday they faced the 2nd most boring side in the league; Limerick. With 12 goals between them in 16 games going into the game a scoreless draw was probably inevitable.
5) When your luck is out, it's really out.
Things aren't going well for Athlone Town but the way they conceded 2 penalties this weekend that shouldn't have been. On Friday goalkeeper Paul Skinner was sent off for not touching Limerick's Tam McManus. Athlone had named keeper Craig Sexton on the bench but he wasn't there so outfielder Sean Brennan went in and saved the penalty. Despite having some great chances with 10 men, Athlone couldn't get their first point. Yesterday saw them unable to field more than 3 subs through injuries and suspensions but they still managed to keep high-flying Dundalk scoreless until injury time. Then referee Graham Kelly awarded Dundalk a penalty for the softest of challenges on Darren Meenan and Athlone's first point was gone. Next up they travel to Inchicore to play the Champions St Pats.
Chris Forrester wasn't the only player to score a goal of the season contender this weekend, check out Jason Byrne's brilliant chip against Pats from Friday. We've some league...
Cover pic; Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE