Week 30 of the League of Ireland saw the FAI Cup field whittled down to eight without any shocks (just!). We saw Shamrock Rovers edge closer to the title without playing while the WNL saw normal service resumed. Not for the first time this season though, the big news of the week revolved around a manager. Let's get you up to date.
League of Ireland Wrap Up: Week 30
Barry Cotter, what a run! 👋🕺
The St Pat's man beats a number of players before unleashing a shot which is deflected into the back of the net @bfcdublin 0-1 @stpatsfc
Watch live 📺 | https://t.co/7rzXOfm8p9#LOI | #LOITV pic.twitter.com/GmDO8ldBzv
— SSE Airtricity League (@SSEAirtricityLg) August 29, 2022
Bohemians and Keith Long mutually consented without any thought for pun lovers and headline writers on Tuesday. Long had been eight years in the job and his place in Bohs history is secure despite only adding a Leinster Senior Cup to their trophy list.
Long took over with the club in crisis and played no small part in the club rebuilding to where it is today. On the field though, the team had long stagnated. Bohs have played 41 League of Ireland games in the last 12 months and only won 12 of them. While Long had shown he could raise his team for big games, he struggled to maintain form through a long league season and only once finished inside the top 4 in 33-36 game season.
The final straw was a 3-1 home defeat to St Pats on Monday evening with Bohs defenders gifting two of the goals to their Dublin rivals. Bohs starting line up contained 5 players signed in the recent summer window. Long was 1.5 years into an unprecedented 4 year contract along with assistant Trevor Croly, who takes control temporarily.
Bohemians board haven't made many mistakes in the last 5 years or so but they have a very difficult decision ahead of them. The next manager won't have the same credit in the bank as Long and fans will be expecting Bohs to be competing for European spots almost immediately. Next up for Bohs is Shamrock Rovers in Dalymount.
Dundalk and Rovers nearly slip up in the Cup
Dundalk need to come from behind to level with Wexford before winning in extra time thanks to Robbie Benson's penalty. Wexford are hugely improved this season - so much so that manager Ian Ryan has been linked with the vacancy in Dalymount - but it would have been an embarrassing loss for the Lilywhites. They'll play Waterford in the next round after they thumped Malahide United.
Shamrock Rovers also need extra time to beat Drogheda United with Andy Lyons scoring only a few days before signing for Blackpool. He'll stay with Rovers until the end of the season. Rovers will travel to Derry City in the big game of the quarter finals. Derry beat Cork City without too much hassle. The other quarter final sees Shelbourne host Bohemians and Treaty United host UCD.
The race for Europe heats up
— Derry City FC (@derrycityfc) August 30, 2022
Dundalk didn't recover from that 120 minutes on Friday and lost 2-0 in Sligo Rovers on Monday evening. 7 goals conceded by the Stephen O'Donnell's team in the last 3 games is pretty shocking for a team created to be solid.
They've dropped to third behind Derry City who beat Shelbourne with an injury time winner. The Candystripes are level on points with Dundalk with a game in hand. St Pats beat Bohs 3-1 to move within 4 points of the top 3. They look to have carried on their European form and will now focus on cracking that top 3.
With one of the top 3 guaranteed to be knocked out in the cup quarter finals, the chances of fourth being a European spot have slimmed somewhat. All 3 will expect to win this weekend as they host 3 of the bottom 4; Pats v Harps, Dundalk v Shels and Derry v UCD. Derry scored seven the last time this fixture was played.
Back to normal for the WNL
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) August 27, 2022
With Shelbourne back from their European adventure, the league leaders travelled to Galway and earned a 2-1 win in TG4's televised game. Challengers Wexford Youths beat Bohemians 5-2 in Dublin with Ellen Molloy again the star of the show. Wexford should win easily this week at home to Cork City while Shelbourne have the much harder task with the visit of Peamount United. The Peas have been wildly inconsistent this year but know on their day, they're a match for any team. Molloy, Abbie Larkin (Shels), Aine O'Gorman (Peamount) and 3rd/4th choice keeper Eva Badana are the only WNL representatives in the Irish squad as they look to confirm a play off spot in the World Cup qualifiers against Finland.
This weekend sees League of Ireland football return to RTE for the first time in months. They've selected Dundalk v Shelbourne for live coverage ahead of Bohemians v Shamrock Rovers with no TV gantry available in Dalymount thanks to the demolition of the Connaught Street terrace. Bohs have also limited the away ticket allocation to 358 in an escalation of their tit-for-tat ticket wars. Expect complaints on Friday from people who pay for the LOITV stream when they see the angle being used.
Sligo Rovers host Drogheda United in the only game with little riding on it, although John Russell won't have given up hope of a fourth place finish yet. The First Division returns with Cork City looking to extend their lead with a game against Longford Town while Galway are idle.