By Rob Wright
It's 3-4-3 this week as we struggle to accommodate the wealth of attacking talent that was on display this weekend. As ever you can watch the highlight's of all the Premier Division action on MNS at 7.00 on Monday evening.
1 : Peter Cherrie (Dundalk)
The Dundalk shot-stopper was instrumental in his side’s fightback against Shelbourne and helped to give manager Stephen Kenny his first league win since taking charge of the Louth side. While he could do little about Dean Kelly’s headed opener the goalkeeper was on fine form throughout the evening.
Cherrie saved early on to deny Mark Leech but made his most telling contribution on 52 minutes when he pulled off an outstanding save to tip Philly Hughes curling effort from outside the penalty area just over the bar. Two minutes later and Dundalk had equalised.
2: Pat Sullivan (Shamrock Rovers)
It’s two league games and two clean sheets for Shamrock Rovers and their skipper again played a vital role in the Hoops’ defence. Despite picking up an early yellow card against St Pat’s for a foul on Chris Forrester, he was able to maintain his discipline and was able to keep the lively Forrester quiet after that.
Indeed, Sullivan’s man-marking of Forrester was so effective that Saints boss Pat Buckley withdrew him early in the second half.
3: Conor Powell (Shamrock Rovers)
The Shamrock Rovers left-back has come in for some criticism in the past but was one of the best players on the pitch is his side’s 3-0 victory over the Saints.
Always full of running and eager to join in with the attack Powell was a constant threat down the left flank for Rovers and signalled his intent with a long range effort that was just wide of the post early on.
Without ever neglecting his defensive duties, Powell was an extra option for the Hoops going forward, linking up well with the likes of Ciaran Kilduff and Gary McCabe.
4: Dan Murray (Cork City)
Now in his second season since returning to his spiritual home, Murray remains as important as ever to the Cork City cause. Aside from marshalling his defence and rallying his side when they went a goal down, Murray was as classy as ever on the ball.
His distribution from the back set up many of Cork’s forays forward and he was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself, having a header cleared off the line.
5: Ronan Finn (Shamrock Rovers)
Given the way that he finished last season and started this one, Shamrock Rovers may be doing well to hold onto Finn until the end of the season.
The lynchpin of the Hoops 3-0 derby victory over St Pat’s, Finn set provided the cross for Ciaran Kilduff’s opener and controlled the pace and tempo of the game from the centre of the park. He rounded off a Finn display with Rovers’ third goal of the evening, getting on the end of a smart Gary McCabe pass to fire into an empty net.
6: Stephen O’Donnell (Dundalk)
After enduring a injury ravaged 2012 season with Shamrock Rovers, Stephen O’Donnell has been handed the captain’s armband by Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny and has settled in immediately into his new club and is already repaying Stephen Kenny for the faith shown in him.
O’Donnell was instrumental in his side’s second-half comeback against Shelbourne as Graham Gartland was sent off for a second yellow card when he was drawn into fouling the Dundalk skipper.
O’Donnell then put his side in front with just three minutes left with a looping header over Shels goalkeeper Niall Burdon.
7: Daryl Horgan (Cork City)
As in the opening week, Daryl Horgan was again the star of the show for Cork City, helping them to a 2-1 victory over Bohemians. Horgan ran rampant down the left wing for 90 minutes, turning Bohs defender’s inside out and forcing some fine saves from Dean Delaney and a great last-ditch block from Owen Heary.
The Gypsies were unable to deny Horgan however and he scored what proved to be the winner on the hour mark, slipping the ball between the legs of Delaney.
8: Ross Gaynor (Sligo Rovers)
New boy Anthony Elding may be getting all the headlines but it was Ross Gaynor who was providing the ammunition as Sligo continued their 100% start to the season with a 3-0 victory over Bray.
Always busy, Gaynor was unlucky not to open the scoring himself as his early effort just flashed wide of Darren Quigley’s goal.
Gaynor was involved throughout and his cross from the left was headed home by Elding on 87 minutes before again being involved as Kieran Djilali put the icing on the cake late on.
9: Rory Patterson (Derry City)
It took just 36 minutes for Rory Patterson to claim the match ball against UCD and ensure his side claimed their first victory of the season. Patterson was ruthless in front of goal, taking advantage of any mistake the students made.
The Derry striker first caught UCD goalkeeper in possession before robbing him of the ball and sliding it home. He then intercepted a weak back pass and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner before completing his hat-trick with a sweetly placed free-kick from 25 yards out.
10: Anthony Elding (Sligo Rovers)
The were big questions marks as to whether Sligo Rovers would be able to replace the goals of Mark Quigley, but just two games into the new league campaign, those questions already appear to have been answered.
Bray were simply unable to cope with the physical presences of Elding. He first headed home from Lee Lynch’s cross to give his side the lead before getting on the end of a Gaynor cross to make sure of the points.
11: Mark Griffin (Derry City)
While Patterson may have been the man on the spot for Derry, Australian born Griffin was equally as impressive against UCD.
Combining well with Patterson throughout and providing the link between midfield and attack, Patterson was a constant threat. David O’Connor saw red when he was booked for a desperate lunge on the Derry forward midway through the second and Patterson got the goal his play deserved late on when he slotted home from Barry McNamee’s pass.
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In addition RTÉ Sport’s live coverage of Airtricity League matches will also be available to audiences worldwide (except the UK – Britain and Northern Ireland) from Friday 22nd March.