Mixed results for Rovers and Pat’s in Premier Division
There were mixed fortunes for champions Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division last night.
Confirmed as back-to-back title holders courtesy of a 3-0 home win over Finn Harps seven days earlier, Rovers came from behind to earn a 3-1 victory at the expense of Waterford in the Regional Sports Centre.
Pat’s welcomed Sligo Rovers to Richmond Park, but fell to a 3-0 defeat on a difficult evening in Inchicore.
Had the Saints come away with even a draw from the latter fixture, it would have been enough to secure runners-up spot in the final table.
Now, as a consequence of their comprehensive reversal to the north-west men, there is some work to do in their remaining games against Finn Harps and Waterford to ensure second place is theirs come the end of the term.
While this was a disappointing result for Pat’s, it was – on the other hand – a big one for their former manager Liam Buckley.
In charge of Sligo since October 2018, the Perrystown native has guaranteed at least a third-place finish in 2021 and this will bring European football back to The Showgrounds for a second consecutive season.
Thanks to goals from Ryan De Vries and Johnny Kenny, the Bit O’Red were in the driving seat at the midway stage of their visit to the capital.
Although Pat’s had a number of opportunities to force their way back into the action, Sligo wrapped up the points with a late goal from Adam McDonnell.
Last weekend’s confirmation of Rovers remaining on top of the pile means the biggest intrigue in the closing weeks of the Premier Division surrounds who will fall into the relegation play-off spot.
Waterford are fighting against demotion down to the second-tier and looked set for a memorable night when John Martin broke the deadlock in the 12th-minute of their clash with the Hoops.
They remained in the ascendancy until Daniel Mandroiu levelled matters with 20 minutes left to play.
The visitors subsequently edged in front through Sean Hoare, before Mandroiu’s 14th league goal of the campaign (and his fourth in just two games) in second half stoppage-time sealed the Tallaght side’s 23rd top-flight win of the year.