There were goals, near misses, a long awaited return and even an homage to one of the worst kits of all time at the weekend in an eventful St. Patricks Day weekend around the globe for The Emerald Exiles.
In The Goals
In Malaysia, former Ireland Under 21 striker Billy Mehmet returned to scoring form, helping Kedah FA to a 4-1 win over Kuala Lumpur SPA on Friday evening. After opening the season with six goals in four wins, Mehmet’s recent dry run has coincided with his side’s slump of late. Before Friday’s victory, they had failed to win in five.
Now with the striker, their player of the month for January, back among the goals, Kedah will be looking to move towards the Super League playoffs.
In neighbouring Singapore on Friday, there were two former League of Ireland and Football League stalwarts in action as Roy O’Donovan and Joe Gamble starred in Brunei DPMM’s 3-0 win over Home United.
O’Donovan, who joined the club from Northampton Town last month, scored his first goals for the club as Steve Kean’s team extended their lead at the top of the S League. A header either side of half time, the second after a fine cross from Gamble, ensured the win.
As for Brunei’s away kit, as modelled by the club’s two Irish players, it’s safe to say someone at kit manufacturer Lotto has taken some inspiration from Arsenal circa 1991.
Also among the goals this weekend was Selcuk Tidim. The Irish youth international, capped up to Under 21 level, scored a thunderbolt from 30 yards as Hansa Rostock reserves beat Schönberg 3-1 in Germany’s Nord-Nordost Oberliga.
Cillian Sheridan was handed a rare league start for APOEL Nicosia on Saturday afternoon, playing 80 minutes in a 3-0 win over Ethnikos Achnas.
Despite not adding to his five goals this term, the Cavan striker could count himself unlucky after seeing an early header come off the post before being twice denied by the goalkeeper. The win leaves APOEL one point off the top of the league ahead of the final three matches of the regular season.
In Australia, Liam Miller played 77 minutes in Brisbane Roar’s 1-1 with an Alessandro Del Piero-less Sydney FC. Roar now hold a nine point lead at the top of the A-League with just four games remaining.
Former Ireland midfielder Miller did miss a glorious chance to all but wrap up the win and title however, blazing over when put clean through before his withdrawal.
Andy O’Brien has part of the Vancouver Whitecaps side who followed up last week’s thrashing of New York Red Bulls by earning a credible 1-1 draw with Chivas on Sunday evening.
The defender who won 26 caps for Ireland, started his second successive game at the heart of the Whitecaps’ defence at the start of this MLS campaign after injury interrupted his 2013 season.
FC Den Bosch moved into the playoff positions in Netherlands’ Ereste Divisie on Sunday, thanks to a 2-0 win over FC Voldendam. Barry Maguire, fresh from signing a one year contract extension last month, expertly played in Alexander Mols for their second late on and could have scored himself when an early free kick was well saved.
Sitting in ninth, (the playoffs consist of two groups – 2nd-5th and 6th-9th) Den Bosch lie just four points off fifth and thus potentially an easier task in any end of season playoffs.
In Germany, Patrick Kohlmann was a 76th minute substitute as Union Berlin kept their Bundesliga promotion hopes alive with a 1-1 draw with Greuther Fürth on Saturday.
The ex-Dortmund and Republic of Ireland Under 21 defender has been largely in favour for Union this term but has fallen out of favour of late as they club have looked to arrest a recent slide.
And The Rest
Darren O’Dea’s Metalurh Donetsk returned to Ukrainian Premier League action on Saturday, drawing 1-1 with Illichevets. After almost four months without competitive match practice, O’Dea was an unused substitute.
Cork born defender Shane O’Neill and Northern Ireland’s Jonny Steele both featured in the draw between Colorado Rapids and New York Red Bulls on Saturday while Richie Ryan debuted as a sub for Ottawa Fury in their pre-season win over York Lions.
Robbie Keane’s LA Galaxy weren’t in MLS action as they were given the weekend off ahead of their CCL second leg against Tijuana in midweek. In Sweden, there were cup defeats for Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United) and Kevin Walker (GIF Sundsvall) and Fiona O’Sullivan made a cameo appearance as SC Freiburg lost 0-2 to Bayern Munich in the Frauen Bundesliga.