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Bohs woes, Talbot’s call-up, cute Hoare and other League Of Ireland observations this week

Bohemian’s good performances are being undone by a lacklustre attack, James Talbot gets an unexpected call-up to the Ireland squad, Dundalk benefit from yet another late winner, Derry City have a tenuous link to Theresa May, while we reveal the single biggest obstacle to professional football in the country. 

Bohs forward issues continue to cost them precious points

Bohemian’s lack of proficiency in front of goal cost them again on Friday night, as they were downed by Sligo Rovers. By all accounts the visitors were lucky to come away with the three points, but the home side failed to convert enough of their chances, scoring once from seven shots on goal.

An early injury to star striker Dinny Corcoran was a big blow in fairness to the Dublin outfit, as was the second-half sending off of Derek Pender. Corcoran has had knee problems in the past, although on this occasion it looked as if he badly hurt his ankle.

Bohs will need him back as soon as possible. Despite being solid defensively and playing some very good football in the first half of the campaign, Keith Long’s side have only scored 18 goals in 19 leagues thus far, which is at least 10 fewer than the rest of the top four. Corcoran has netted seven of those, meaning he accounts for just under forty percent of their entire tally.

Corcoran’s replacement, Ryan Swan, is a talented young forward, but few players in the Premier Division have the goalscoring pedigree of the Donabate man. Without a quick solution, they could see themselves dropping out of the European places altogether very soon.

The injury to the Bohs striker, and a clash of heads between Sligo goalkeeper Ed McGinty and Dante Leverock which caused the latter to be substituted in the 28th minute, caused huge stoppages in the opening half, meaning the referee had to extend injury time to 18 minutes. Someone call the Guinness Book of Records, that surely deserves a spot in the next edition.

Talbot call-up another sign of progress for the league, but more importantly, himself

In better news for the Gypsies, James Talbot received a call-up from manager Mick McCarthy to the Ireland senior men’s squad ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar on the 7th and 10th of June respectively after Bournemouth’s Mark Traver’s pulled out with an injury.

Somewhat fortunately for Bohs their match against UCD on the 8th has already been postponed as the Students have three players on international duty with the U21’s for the Toulon Tournament, so it looks as if the goalkeeper won’t miss any league games.

Barring an injury to current number one Darren Randolph, it’s unlikely Talbot will get any game time in either of the two fixtures, but it should prove to be a great experience for the 22-year-old as well as a good news story for the league.

The former Sunderland player is the third keeper from the league be included in an Ireland squad, following on from Dundalk’s Gary Rogers and former Bohs’ man Shane Supple, who were both called up by Martin O’Neill.

The turnaround in Talbot’s fortunes has been remarkable. Just last year he was playing Gaelic football for Ballymun Kickhams after he was released by the Black Cats before Keith Long brought him on board. He was expected to play second fiddle to Supple until he unexpectedly retired from football in the off-season due to injury problems.

Since then he has put in a number of terrific performances for Bohs, earning the SSE Airtricity League/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for April in the process. How far can he go?

Cute Hoare’s late winner the latest salvo for Dundalk

It was a fortuitous goal, but it doesn’t matter how it goes in so long as it goes in. That’s how Dundalk fans will be viewing their side’s latest victory, which saw Sean Hoare scoring in the 90th minute to put St. Patrick’s Athletic to the sword at Oriel Park.

The Saints put up a staunch defence for the entire game and appeared to be on their way to grabbing a point, but it wasn’t to be. Aside from a 1-0 defeat to Athlone Town in the Leinster Senior Cup in February, the Lilywhites have not failed to score at home this season. They left it very late to keep that record intact.

It wasn’t the first time Dundalk have struck late to take the spoils though. Earlier in the week Pat Hoban scored a late penalty to defeat Bohemians, a recurrence of their meeting in April.

That’s three late winners against tricky opposition in the last two months, without which they would be six points worse and lagging behind Shamrock Rovers. Instead they are joint top of the league, ahead of the Tallaght outfit on goal difference.

I guess that’s how you win four league titles in the space of five years, by playing to the last minute of every single game.

Derry continue unlikely record

What links the League of Ireland and Theresa May? Unsurprisingly, very little. But one eagle-eyed Irish football fan spotted this quirky little statistic:

Fair play to Gary Ferry for taking the time to actually research that piece of trivia, which was continued with their 4-0 thrashing of derby rivals Finn Harps.

Some of the Donegal side’s defending was extremely poor and marked a step backwards for Ollie Horgan’s charges, who had been on a good run of form until their trip to the Brandywell.

The single biggest obstacle to professional football in this country

Is it the lack of qualified coaches? The dearth of green spaces for children to play on? Or perhaps the proliferation of video games which keep kids from playing the game?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you were wrong. The correct answer, obviously, is: floodlights.

That’s right. The things that keep the pitch lit for evening games. At least, they do in theory. But on Friday evening the referee for the Limerick versus Cabinteely game hit the pause button when he noticed the floodlights were not coming on.

Some used the break in play to good effect:

The game resumed after the short, unplanned intermission, but, jokes aside, this isn’t the first time an issue with floodlights has arisen in the league. It happens at least once, if not a few times a season, where they fail to work or break down mid-match. In some instances the generator can’t be fixed there and then and the game will have to be abandoned, leading to the usual #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld posts on social media.

To be fair, on this occasion it appears someone simply failed to hit a switch or set a timer for the appropriate time. While this is hardly the gravest issue concerning the league in this country, it looks painfully amateurish whenever it does happen and does nothing to help its image.

Limerick won the game 1-0, which keeps them in touching distance of the playoffs, while Cabo slip down to fourth place.

In other news…

Snickers have deployed some clever marketing outside football grounds this week. This one was seen outside Turner’s Cross in Cork:

There’s supposedly another one outside Shelbourne’s home ground, Tolka Park, which reads ‘Nuts About Bohs’. Well played, Snickers.

Elsewhere, it is also worth noting every group game of Ireland’s from the Toulon Tournament will be screened on free-to-air television next month, which is great news all the same.

Read: Who made the League of Ireland Team of the Week?