It was a dramatic opening night for the SSE Airtricity League First Division, on and off the field.
Drogheda United stormed to the top of the table after a 4-0 victory over Cobh Ramblers. A Mark Doyle double as well as goals from Chris Lyons and Adam Wixted ensured a comfortable victory but preparations were less than ideal for the away side after their bus broke down three times on the way to the game.
Despite this, the club were not accommodated by officials.
a proper warm up insisting the game wasn't delayed by more than 5 minutes.That for me set the tone - and Ramblers were on the back foot from the start with ref. What was really noticeable though was the manner in which the referee spoke to the players. His tone was aggressive
— Ian Ryan (@ianryan95) February 22, 2019
Manager Stephen Henderson took to social media to hit out at the treatment of his players.
51/2 hrs on a bus that broke down 3 times on the way to game. 10mins to warm players up after trek. Drogs battered us. Very good side . But the treatment of my players was disgusting irrespective if we won the game or not. Broke down again now In Dublin. Poxy fooking day.
— Stephen Henderson (@stevehendo07) February 23, 2019
Elsewhere, Bray Wanderers secured an impressive 3-0 victory over Cabinteely while Limerick and Longford played out a 0-0 draw. In Galway, President Michael D Higgins took part in Galway United's 'Reclaim the Dyke' project, marching up the local Dyke Road before watching his local club take on Shelbourne in Eamon Deacy Park.
It finished 3-2 in favour of Ian Morris's side. Ciaran Kilduff scored twice and Karl Moore grabbed a third for the visitors. In the night's final game, Athlone Town overcame Wexford FC 4-2.