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Airtricity League: Team of the Week

Updated: Monday, 01 Apr 2013 11:44 | Comments

David Cawley makes the midfield
David Cawley makes the midfield

Champions Sligo Rovers kept up their 100% record, while Derry stayed second after an impressive win over Shelbourne, Rob Wright choses his Team of the Week following another round of Airtricity League action.

GOALKEEPER

Gerard Doherty (Derry)
It’s not often that a goalkeeper shines when his side win 4-0 but Derry shot-stopper Doherty was as much a part of his side’s victory over Shelbourne as the goalscorers, making some crucial interventions at pivotal moments.

With his side leading 1-0, Doherty was in the right place at the right time to deny Thomas Crawley what looked like a certain equaliser when he plucked his headed effort out of the air. Doherty had to be alert again to prevent a Dean Kelly goal, again saving brilliantly from a header. Doherty has conceded just two goals this season and should he continue in this form, Derry are going to be a real threat.

DEFENCE

Kenny Browne (St Patrick’s Athletic)

Despite spending the last two weeks kicking his heels because of match postponements, Browne looked sharp and hungry in his side’s 1-0 victory away to Limerick.

In what was a real backs-to-the-wall display at times, as St Pat’s held on resolutely to their 1-0 lead, Browne was a calm head at the back, always alert to danger, sniffing out and ending opportunities before Limerick had a chance to trouble the Saint’s goal.

Alan Keane (Sligo)
As much a part of the Sligo attack as defence, the highly mobile Keane was a bundle of energy at right-back against Bohemians.

As well as helping to frustrate a Bohs side that showed much more fluidity and skill than many expected, Keane was a constant threat going forward for the Bit O’Red. His surging runs down the right wing offered his side an extra man in attack, without ever exposing or his team himself in defence.

Jake Carroll (St Patrick’s Athletic)


Much like team-mate Kelly Browne, Carroll showed no signs of rustiness after an enforced lay-off.

Equally happy in midfield as he is in the St Pat’s defence, Carroll’s coolness on the ball helped to alleviate pressure against Limerick. Rarely hoofing the ball clear as Limerick piled on the pressure, his precise passing out of defence gave his side an outlet as they hung on in the closing stages.

John Dunleavy (Cork City)


Cork City have just conceded three goals so far this season and Dunleavy has been a big part of the reason why. Against Shamrock Rovers on Friday, Cork were often pushed back and forced to defend, even more so when reduced to ten men and Dunleavy was always there to fill in the gaps.

The former Ireland Under-21 international made a vital block to deny Billy Dennehy, anticipating the dangers and racing back to deny the Rovers winger what looked to be a certain goal.


MIDFIELD

David Cawley (Sligo)

Sligo have won admirers as well as games this season with their attacking play lighting up the league. One player who doesn’t always grab the headlines is Cawley, but he’s as crucial to the Bit O’Red as any of their flair players.

Against Bohemians, Cawley sat in front of the back four shielding them from attack, mopping up the loose balls and breaking up play. Not just a destroyer, Cawley was never wasteful in possession and his passes from inside his own half were the platform on which many Sligo attacks were built.

Raffaele Cretaro (Sligo)


Another week another fine display from Cretaro. The Tubbercurry native continues to do an excellent job linking the Sligo midfield and attack and against Bohemians he always seemed to find the time and space on the ball to create.

Cretaro opened the scoring against Bohs when he was alert in the visitor’s penalty area to pounce on a mistake and slot home from six yards out. He then laid a goal on a plate for Anthony Elding, again showing his awareness to dink over a delicate cross for the unmarked Sligo target-man to head home.

Sean Houston (Derry)
Derry impressed in their 4-0 victory over Shelbourne and none more so than Sean Houston. The midfielder was a constant threat, troubling Shels defenders every time he had the ball at his feet.

Never afraid to run with the ball and take on defenders, Houston was instrumental in his side’s opening goal, picking out Rory Patterson in the penalty area before the Derry striker fired home. A threat himself, Houston was unlucky to see goalkeeper Niall Burdon just about scramble back to deny him a spectacle lobbed goal and although he was sacrificed for Patrick McEleney with 20 minutes to go, he had already left his mark on the game by then.

Stephen Traynor (Bohemians)


The engine in the centre of midfield for a Bohemians team that were much better than the 3-0 score line against Sligo may suggest.

Traynor kept his team’s high tempo game flowing with a string of impressive first time passes and had he a more threatening attacking line playing in front of him, he would have two or three assists on the night.

FORWARDS

Jason Byrne (Bray Wanderers)


He’s been around the block a bit and while he no longer has the pace that helped to make him a PFAI player of the year, Byrne is still a consummate goal scorer.

He opened the scoring for his Bray Wanderers side after just four minutes against UCD, being alert enough to pounce on a loose ball and fire his side in front from close range. Then, after seeing his side go behind and lose their goalkeeper to a red card, Byrne was instrumental in Bray’s fightback and with 10 minutes remaining set up the equaliser with a clever lob that allowed John Mulroy to tap home from close range.

Anthony Elding (Sligo Rovers)
This team-of-weak could very quickly turn into a ’10 of-the-week, plus Elding. This may have been his quietest league game for Sligo since joining them but he still linked up brilliantly with Cretaro and was a constant threat and concern for Bohemians.

His very presence on the pitch freed up space for his team-mates as the Gypsies’ defenders were drawn to him and while he headed in for his sixth goal for Rovers, only a great injury-time same from Dean Delaney denied him a seventh.

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