It was midfielders who impressed the most last weekend with Dundalk's Richie Towell leading the way. Indeed we had so many to choose from in the centre of the park that we've gone with a slightly unorthodox 3-5-1-1 system for our team of the week. Just think of Sligo's Kieran Djilali as playing in behind Pat Hoban and you're there.
Peter Cherrie (Dundalk)
The Dundalk goalkeeper has been in fine form all season but against champions Sligo, his confidence and reliability at the back helped his side claim a very important three points. Cherrie set the tone early on, saving from Ndo inside the first ten minutes before stopping Rafael Cretaro’s header and he would go on to keep a clean sheet against the Bit O’Red.
Michael Leahy (UCD)
The UCD skipper led by example with a solid defensive performance. UCD may have conceded a second minute goal, but they frustrated Limerick for the rest of the night and Leahy played a big part in that solidity.
Ian Bermingham (St Patrick’s Athletic)
From the opening whistle, Bermingham was a pivotal figure in the St Pat’s attacking set-up, offering width on all occasions and the quality of his distribution was a crucial element in their derby win.
Chances were created throughout by the fullback’s overlapping runs and his superb run and precise cross that Conan Byrne headed wide from in the 74th minute, showed the left-full’s qualities in a microcosm.
Dan Massey (Dundalk)
Returning to the Dundalk first team after injury, Massey made an immediate impact and looks set to keep Chris Shields on the bench for a while. Commanding at the back, Massey’s dominance in the air helped to calm Dundalk nerves and reduce Sligo’s threat from dead ball situations, while he was also a force going forward. His crossing and link-up play caused plenty of problems for Sligo throughout.
Gavin Brennan (Drogheda United)
The big Drogheda left winger scored his side’s first goal in their 2-0 victory over Derry City and impressed throughout. As well as being a contrast threat going forward down the flank, he also managed to keep Derry’s Simon Madden quiet all night.
Ian Turner (Cork)
Turner opened the scoring with an audacious swerving half-volley from distance against Bray on Friday night. Along with that goal of the season contender, the 24-year-old was busy in midfield and linked up well with Ciaran Kilduff and Danny Morrissey up front.
Richie Towell (Dundalk)
Towell has been one of the star performers in Dundalk’s title challenge and he again led by example against Sligo. Putting in another man-of-the-match display, Towell ran the show from midfield, always finding an extra yard of space. His clever headed flick-on helped to set up Pat Hoban for the game’s opener and he then forced a great save out of Gary Rogers who was just about able to claw away his powerful drive.
Ryan Brennan (Drogheda)
The midfielder coolly slotted home the visitor's second goal, but he along with Declan O'Brien were a contest threat to City throughout. His midfield run also resulted in Shane McEleney bringing him down inside the box for the spot-kick.
Greg Bolger (St Patrick’s Athletic)
Bolger was once again at the centre of everything positive that St Pat’s tried to implement in their narrow win over Shelbourne. He rarely ceded possession and his long-ball that released Conan Byrne for Stephen Maher’s critical goal highlighted the range of passing that the former UCD player possesses in abundance.
Kieran Djilali (Sligo)
Djilali was a constant thorn in the side of the Dundalk defence, causing both Mark Rossiter and Dane Massey problems no matter which side he popped up on. His pace and trickery troubled them throughout and you felt if the Bit O'Red were to get back into the game it would be thanks to the inventiveness of the former Crystal Palace man. Curled one effort inches past the post and another was brilliantly blocked by Andy Boyle.
Pat Hoban (Dundalk)
The Player of the Month for July was outstanding again for Dundalk in their big 2-0 victory against the reigning champions. Hoban set his side on the way to victory with a sensational goal and ran himself into the ground with his unselfish tracking back.