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15th Mar 2022

League of Ireland round-up: Goals galore as Aidan Keena scores a hat-trick

Luke Jennings

Aidan Keena

‘Welcome to heaven.’

There were 10 goals across five of the recent League of Ireland matches, as Aidan Keena, Jamie McGonigle, and Sean Boyd all got on the scoresheet.

Nathan Sheppard’s goalkeeping heroics for Dundalk, as well as fine displays from Mark and Eoin Doyle of St. Patrick’s Athletic, sent the Inchicore outfit top of the league.

Aidan Keena – ‘welcome to heaven.’

Keena scored a hat-trick as Sligo Rovers beat Finn Harps 3-1 at the Showgrounds on Monday night.

The 22-year-old scored twice in the first half before completing his hat-trick in the 47th minute.

The Mullingar man’s first goal of the evening was the pick of the bunch. Keena blasted his shot past Mark McGinley in the Finn Harps goal from 20-yards out.

Aidan Keena

Commentator and former Sligo playmaker Joseph N’Do was sent into hysterics following Aidan Keena’s strike.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to heaven,” N’Do declared following the goal.

The former Falkirk and Ireland U21 striker has four league goals this season – which is the joint-highest in the League of Ireland.

Second-placed Sligo will be delighted with the start they made despite losing Johnny Kenny and John Mahon in the off-season. The Bit O’Red will need Keena scoring week-in-week-out if they are to challenge for the league title this year.

Super saves from Nathan Sheppard.

Sheppard was on top form to keep Shamrock Rovers at bay as Dundalk were held to a 0-0 stalemate at Oriel Park on Monday night.

The Welsh goalkeeper’s performance was the takeaway from the evening. In the first half, Richie Towell’s looping shot from close range was spectacularly tipped wide.

In the second half, substitute Aaron Greene’s downward header was spectacularly saved by Sheppard in the Dundalk goal.

The draw leaves the Lilywhites 5th in the League of Ireland table. Stephan O’Donnell’s side recorded their third clean sheet of the season against the Hoops. It took Dundalk 17 games to reach this number last season.

O’Donnell will be content with the start to the season Dundalk have made. Finishing in the top four remains a priority for the Lillywhites. They are currently four points off fourth-placed Shamrock Rovers with a game in hand.

Aidan Keena

Jamie McGonigle’s brilliant brace.

A McGonigle brace gave Derry City a 2-0 win against Drogheda United on Monday night. Derry went third in the League of Ireland table as their unbeaten start to the season continued.

It took three minutes for McGonigle to open the scoring as Shane McEleney found the striker in space to fire past the Drogheda keeper Sam Long. He is now joined top scorer with four league goes so far this season.

Midway through the second half, the Candystripes doubled their lead. Another long ball from Cameron Dummigan found McGonigle who sidestepped Long in the Drogheda goal before rolling the ball into the empty net.

Derry will fancy their chances of competing in the title race this season. They have made a very good start to the campaign as well as recruiting eight proven League of Ireland players on top of the squad that finished fourth last season.

The Doyle’s were on display as St. Pats went top.

Mark and Eoin Doyle were on the scoresheet as St. Pat’s beat UCD 2-0 at Richmond Park on Monday night to go top of the SSE Airtricity League.

Eoin Doyle opened the scoring for St. Pats in the 34th minute as he headed home from close range following Darragh Burns second attempted cross found the former Bolton Wanderers striker.

Mark Doyle added a second for the Saints in the 58th minute as he chested the ball down only to riffle his shot into the bottom corner to secure all three points for St. Pat’s.

The Inchicore outfit have sublime attacking talent. If they are to maintain their position at the top of the league they are going to need to maintain their defensive standards. The Saints have four clean sheets in six games so far this season.

Sean Boyd’s first touch glory.

Super-sub Boyd scored with his first touch for Shelbourne against Bohemians as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Dalymount Park.

Shels conceded an 85th-minute equaliser to defender Graham Horton as the newly-promoted side returned to Drumcondra with only one point instead of three.

Damien Duff reflected on the match as two points dropped following the late equaliser from Bohs.

“On reflection of the game, the lads are gutted they haven’t won the game, which I think speaks volumes about the squad,” he told RTΓ‰ Sport.

Shels will be pleased with their start to life back in the Premier Division as they sit seventh, level on points with sixth-placed Bohs.

Duff’s squad is only beginning to gel following the former Premier League winner signing 13 new players in the off-season. The Tolka Park outfit should be comfortable in mid-table as the season continues.

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