Darren O’Dea had an eventful weekend as Metalurh Donetsk, erm, might have qualified for the Europa League while Cillian Sheridan’s APOEL Nicosia await a court decision on their Cypriot title challenge. There were goals for Anto Flood and Roy O’Donovan too. It’s The Emerald Exiles weekly round-up.
It can never be just straightforward….
On his return to the Metalurh Donetsk team on Sunday, exiled Republic of Ireland defender Darren O’Dea scored a goal before being rushed to hospital as Metalurh relied on results elsewhere to qualify for next season’s Europa League, kind of.
The club were issued with a provisional ban late last year after UEFA payables were overdue, meaning they were denied entry to European competition in 2014/15 should they qualify. Their 1-3 defeat to Dnipro meant that prospect remained a very perilous one but with Vorskla and Zorya also losing, O’Dea’s side clinged onto sixth spot and the final Europa League position.
While the official line from the club remains a hopeful one, the club have told the players that all the legal matters surrounding the ban have been overcome. After the game, O’Dea tweeted his excitement at a European campaign to look forward to next term.
On the pitch, the Dubliner scored a first half header to make it 1-2 before being rushed to hospital after a second half knock left him with concussion. O’Dea’s first goal for the club came way back in July during his first start for the club with this, his second, coming on the final day of the Ukrainian season.
He’s not the only Irishman waiting around for a decision on his club’s future this week. Cillian Sheridan started APOEL Nicosia’s Cypriot title decider against AEL Limassol on Saturday afternoon, with a win required to ensure a goal difference title win. With the match scoreless shortly into the second half, a flare thrown by AEL supporters pierced the dugout and hit an APOEL sub, Kaka.
The match was abandoned with a verdict on whether APOEL will be awarded the match and thus, the title expected on Thursday. As one player close to the situation told me on Monday, it’s a bit of a shambles. On Wednesday, Sheridan and his team face Ermis in the Cypriot Coca-Cola Cup final. If they win, it’ll be like celebrating a double. Kind of….
In The Goals
Not an Emerald Exiles column goes by these days without a mention of former League of Ireland favourites and their goalscoring exploits in far flung lands. Roy O’Donovan is a staple of this bit and he was back among the goals for Brunei DPMM this week. He scored a quite brilliant goal on Thursday, picking up the ball on the half way line and advancing to the edge of the box where he unleashed a blockbuster past the Albirex Niigata goalkeeper.
That’s 11 in 11 games for O’Donovan now. Joe Gamble, an ever present too this season for DPMM, also played 90 minutes as they preserved their seven point lead at the top of the S League.
In Australia, Anto Flood scored a brilliant free kick from just outside the box as Dunbar Rovers beat Lokomotiv Cove 3-2 in Sydney’s regional division. The former St. Pats man has been linked to a return to Inchicore but he seems to be enjoying life in Oz. If he were to retain his current goalscoring ratio, Dunbar’s Irish coach and big Irish contingent would move mountains to keep their man.
And The Rest….
Robbie Keane’s LA Galaxy saw their season plumb new depths with a 1-0 defeat to Houston Dynamo. The defeat is a second in three and Galaxy have won just twice in seven outings, leading Keane to urge his teammates to cut out their elementary mistakes.
In Finland’s Ykkonen, Shane McFaul lined out at centre half in FC KTP’s 4-4 draw away to Oulo while Finish-Irish defender Patrick O’Shaughnessy also started as PK-35 drew 1-1 with HIFK. They love a good abbreviation in Finland.
Niall Killoran, the Irish-Japanese goalkeeper was among the Toyko Verdy squad once more as the J2 side drew 0-0 with Kumamoto to extend their unbeaten run to three. Niall’s brother Colin is currently injured and has yet to feature for Verdy this term.
Kevin Walker’s GIF Sundsvall suffered their second league defeat of the Superettan season on Saturday, going down 0-1 to Varnamo. They now lead the Swedish second division by just two points.
It was a weekend to forget for most of Ireland’s women in Scandinavia. Louise Quinn and Emma Salomonsson saw their Eskilstuna United and Jitex BK lose 0-3 and 2-3 in the Damallsvenskan while Diane Caldwell featured for Avaldsnes who lost 0-5 to Arna-Bjørnar.
There was one chink of light in the Toppserien however, as Shannon Smyth’s Amazon Grimstad won their first league game of the season, beating Grand Bodø 2-1 with Smyth making one goal.
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