Conor O'Donnell (UCD)
The College 'keeper had a busy night against an impressive Bohemians team, making good saves from Craig Walsh, twice, and Steven Beattie late on, helping to keep the scoreline down. There was very little he could do about the goals.
Alan Byrne (Athlone Town)
If Athlone are to make a mark on this year's league, they will have to rely on a sturdy rearguard and Alan Byrne will be key to this. He frustrated Sligo Rovers during last year's FAI Cup Final with Drogheda and continued that trend on Saturday against the Bit o'Red with his new Athlone Town side. Sitting in front of the Athlone back four, Byrne was a commanding presence and was unlucky to be on the losing side.
Ryan McBride (Derry City)
In his post-match interview, Derry manager Roddy Collins admitted that his side went to Tallaght hoping to frustrate Shamrock Rovers and no-one did a better job at that than Ryan McBride. Imposingly solid at the back, McBride helped to keep the Hoops’ front line quiet for 93 minutes and was unlucky to see his side concede an injury time equaliser.
Brian Lenihan (Cork City)
An excellent young talent, Lenihan coped really well with the presence of Chris Forrester all night and offered Cork City an important outlet going forward down the right on several occasions. He’ll be one to watch for the forthcoming season.
John Russell (Sligo Rovers)
The absence of an energetic attacking midfielder was something which stood out for Sligo Rovers during 2013. Manager Ian Baraclough remedied the situation with the signature of John Russell from St Patrick's Athletic. The Galway native was one of Sligo's stand out performers on Saturday night against Athlone Town and deservedly bagged a goal on 63 minutes.
Eric Foley (Drogheda United)
Rejuvenated under new manager Robbie Horgan after an injury-plagued 2013, Foley set Drogheda on their way with a stunning free kick and was lively throughout. While he is understood to have thought about giving up the game last year - bet he can’t wait for next Friday now.
Keith Fahey (St Patrick’s Athletic)
Worth a place here for that President’s Cup goal, Fahey wasted no time in showing the St Pat’s supporters just what he has to offer them as he helped his side overcome Sligo. Comfortable on the ball and always seeming to have an extra yard of space around him, Fahey’s return to the league is a boon for all involved.
Paddy Kavanagh (Bohemians)
An inspired display by the Gypsies' attacker, especially in the first half against UCD. Nominally a winger, Kavangah played in the hole behind Dinny Corcoran and was everywhere, capping a superb first 45 minutes' display with a cracking goal.
Gary O’Neill (Drogheda United)
While he seems to have a lost a slight bit of pace since his well-publicised cancer battle, O’Neill played cleverly throughout against Dundalk just behind striker Declan O’Brien. The forward provided the link between midfield and O’Brien, and put in a fine performance which deserved a goal.
Christy Fagan (St Patrick’s Athletic)
The St Patrick’s Athletic striker caused problems all night for Cork City. He was involved in all the visitor’s good play - setting up his team-mates on more than one occasion before netting the vital equaliser in the second half.
Dinny Corcoran (Bohemians)
The Gypsies striker has started the season in the same rich vein of form as he finished the last. Keeping his place in the starting line-up ahead of the recently returned Jason Byrne, Corcoran did plenty to justify his place, scoring Bohemians’ second with a fine curling effort. He was unlikely not to have more, hitting the post and finding UCD goalkeeper O'Donnell in fine form.