Derry City are top of the league thanks to two instances of disastrous defending from St. Pat’s inside ten minutes during which two players put the ball in their own net.
Despite the nature of the goals Derry were good value for the win enjoying the lion’s share of possession and chances until the 71st minute when Brian Shorthall attempted to clear up by chesting the ball back to Chris Bennion only for the ball to find its way past the advancing goalkeeper.
Much to the delight of the Brandywell crowd Dave Mulcahy added his name to the wrong side’s scoresheet ten minutes later poking the ball past Bannion from a corner and sending the Derry crowd into raptures, 2,500 fans had turned out to say their farewells to Sunderland-bound James McClean.
McClean’s departure will raises questions over Derry’s chances of maintaing a championship threat as ShamRock Rovers cut the goal difference to two with six second half goals against UCD.
Rovers were dominant from the off but Martin Russell’s side were unusually solid and frustrated the champions for over an hour before Gary Twigg opened the floodgates.
Dan Murray almost burst he net finishing from close range after the students failed to clear a corner, Billy Dennehy scored unmarked from the edge of the box, Gary O’Neill slotted one home and Ciaran Kilduff bundled the ball into the net before substitute Thomas Boyle scored an own goal in injury time.
The win puts Rovers on level points with Derry though the champions have a game in hand and if Sligo beat Bohemians tonight they will join the two on 51 at the top of the table.
Further down the table a full blooded Louth derby ended honours evens in game that crackled throughout.
Mark Griffin, who has been a constant threat for Dundalk this season put the visitors ahead after 13 minutes only for Tiarnán Mulvenna to level before the break and Dave Rogers to put Drugs ahead early in the second, from then on Drigs had the best of the play.
With a quarter of an hour to go though Jason Byrner leveled for the Lilywhites with a lob over Stephen Trimble as Drogheda were caught out while looking for a third goal.
Galway United were handed their 20th successive league defeat on their trip to the Carlisle Grounds, losing 4-0 to Bray who ended their own slump with only their second win in eight games.
Jake Kelly, Danny O’Connor, Shane O’Neill and Derek Prendergast all got on the score sheet against a Galway side who were reduced to ten after two minutes when Lawrence Gaughan launched a two footed tackle on the Bray right back.