There were two play off games taking place over the weekend.
The first of those games took place on Friday night between Monaghan United and Bray Wanderers in the First Leg of their Promotion/relegation
Here is my opinion of Friday night’s event…
Monahan United 0-0 Bray Wanderers
This result will favour Bray because they now get to welcome Monaghan back to the Carlisle Grounds. Whoever wins that game will be in the Premier Division next season. Monaghan now face a very tough game but I’m sure they will be up for it and that they will hopefully bring a lot of supporters down to Wicklow on Monday night.
Here is the official match report!!!!
Monahan United 0-0 Bray Wanderers
It ended with honours even in the first leg Airtricity League Premier Division promotion/relegation play-off at Gortakeegan.
But Bray's goalkeeper Matt Gregg will miss Monday's second leg at the Carlisle Grounds after an 89th minute sending off.
The former Bohs, UCD and Dundalk stopper was dismissed for taking down Monaghan sub Daragh Hanaphy just outside the box.
United bossed the first half but failed to capitalise. After on-loan Derby County player Graham Kelly flashed a shot narrowly over the cross-bar as early as the fourth minute, the Ulster border side were up in arms just 90 seconds later.
From a long ball over the top, Philip Hughes chased down along with the covering Danny O'Connor. Matt Gregg raced off his with the ball rebounding off Hughes. As the ball ran clear and the goal open, the striker appeared to go down under pressure from the Wanderers keeper.
But instead of awarding a penalty or a free for a dive, referee Damien Hancock waved play.
Hughes and Gregg were in the thick of the action again in the 11th minute.
From Karl Bermingham's flick on, Hughes tried his luck with an audacious 50-yard effort. But Gregg scrambled back to to claw the ball out just yards from the goal-line.
United had another glorious chance in the 18th minute. Gabriel Sava's free was flicked on by Hughes. And Sean Brennan got between Danny O'Connor and Dane Massey only to flash his 16-yard half volley wide of the target.
Bray finally came to life in the 21st minute. Released by Shane O'Neill, Jake Kelly beat the
offside. Blocked off by Gabriel Sava, the winger's shot was chested off the line by Paul Whelan at the near post.
But within moments at the other end, Grimes whipped in a left wing cross. It fell to Hughes who drilled wide back across the face of goal. The second half failed to live up to the hectic action in period.
It wasn't until the 74th minute that either side threatened. Hughes went close to adding to 21 goals this season when evading the attentions of Danny O'Connor. But skewed his 15-yard attempt into the side netting.
Monaghan United: Sava; Whelan, McMahon, Gartland, Grimes; Brennan (Hanaphy 53), Tierney, Cathal O'Connor (Costigan 85), Byrne, Bermingham (McNeill 65 mins); Hughes.
Bray Wanderers: Gregg; Doyle, Shane O'Connor, Danny O'Connor, Massey; Zambra, Dempsey, Graham Kelly (Shaw 69), Jake Kelly; Shields, O'Neill (Kane 90).
Referee: Damien Hancock (Dublin)
The other play off game took place on Saturday evening when Salthill Devon beat Cobh Ramblers 2-1 in Galway.
Here is my opinion of the game that saw Salthill Devon stay in the First Division for another years.
Salthill Devon 2-1 Cobh Ramblers
Salthill won this tie 3-1 on aggregate over the two legs. Salthill finished bottom of the First Division but still showed that there is a big difference between teams in the First Division and teams in the A Championship.
Here is the official match report from Galway!!!!
Salthill Devon 2 - 1 Cobh Ramblers
Salthill win 3-1 on aggregate
A splendid encounter, packed with opportunities, eventually ended with a deserved Salthill
Devon success as the Galway outfit avoided relegation to the Championship.
Prompted by the smashing Robbie Porter, who nudged Devon into an eight minute lead, the home side were then forced to deal with a gutsy Cobh Ramblers revival.
Cobh enjoyed plenty of possession in the third quarter and carved chances with Jamie Murphy equalising in the 55th minute.
Devon custodian Ronan Forde made several decent saves during Cobh’s late assault before Devon substitute Ciprian Straut bagged a last gasp winner.
Early on Emlyn Long and Mike Quirke’s charges were in control with man of the match Porter
slotted home after only 8 minutes.
The midfielder could have doubled Salthill’s advantage moments later, but crashed a shot wide from just outside the area.
Salthill remained in the ascendancy until the interval, but Dave Hill’s Cobh responded following the break.
Murphy examined Forde’s reflexes within seconds of the restart and Salthill were being forced to defend deep.
Cobh left full Peter Nolan slung over a cross for Murphy, who squeezed a delightful effort into the back of the Salthill net on 55.
There was no shortage of goalmouth incident as Pierce Donoghue shot wide for Cobh, while Victor Collins failed to convert two gilt edged opportunities.
Republic of Ireland under 19 international Daryl Horgan was immense for Salthill on the right constantly probing, but Colins wasn’t firing in attack.
Forde had to be smart to deny Shane Geasley as the final whistle loomed, but Salthill finished with a flourish.
Collins provided the assist for fellow mid season recruit Straut in stoppage time, though, as Salthill closed the deal.
Salthill Devon: Forde; C Horgan, Geraghty, Whelan, O’Leidhinn; D Horgan, Quirke (Straut, 70), Porter, Gaffney (O’Reilly, 85); McBrien; Collins.
Cobh Ramblers: Deasy; Hastings (Dowling, 62), Collins, Meade, Nolan; Donoghue, O’Shea,
O’Hanlon, Spillane (O’Flynn, 72); Murphy, Geasley.
Referee: J Grimes (Dublin).
Thanks for reading and the preview for the last of the play off games will be up next!!