SSE Airtricity League Round-Up: Storm clouds gather over Bray and Athlone

Can they stay or can they can go, that is the question for the players of Bray Wanderers at the moment. Having been told they were free to negotiate deals with other clubs, the club rowed back on this during the week with Bray Chairman Denis O’Connor stating that they had now secured the necessary funding to pay the players and to carry the club into next season. The Bray players subsquently issued a statement saying they weren’t sure of their futures at the club and that they needed further assurances. They want the club to provide them with the “appropriate information together with the promised guarantees and security”. This is a row that looks set to rumble on. One issue that does look to be coming to a head is that of Athlone Town and the sudden surge of interest from punters in Asis in SSE Airtricity League First Division games. Following on from UEFA’s report into irregular betting activity for some Athlone games, the FAI released a statement over the weekend stating that some members of Athlone Town FC now faced charges. The charges have been brought under the FAI Rules:

– Rule 99: Bringing the Game into Disrepute
– Rule 105: Manipulating Matches
– Rule 106: Betting / Gambling

The PFAI announced that they would be supporting the two players concerned. The hearing is due to take place on August 3rd.

This slightly overshadowed what was a good week in European competition from clubs from the league. Cork City beat Estonian side Levadia Tallinn 6-2 on aggregate to set up a tie against AEK Larnaca. Shamrock Rovers are also through as they defeated Icelandic side Stjarnan 2-0 over the two legs. They now face FK Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Republic. It was a disappointing foray for Derry City who were beaten 10-2 on aggregate by Danish side FC Midtjylland. It was a big round of games for the sides battling to avoid the drop in the Premier Division. Two of them met in United Park with Drogehda home to Finn Harps and it was the visitors who picked up a huge three points thanks to goals from Eddie Dsane and Danny Morrissey. Galway United moved off the bottom thanks to a 3-1 win against Limerick FC. Ronan Murray, Padraic Cunningham and Eoin McCormack scored their goals with Garbhan Coughlan on the mark for Limerick. Sligo Rovers went into their game against Derry City without Kieran Sadlier and Liam Martin who both left the club during the week. Sadlier signed for Cork for an undisclosed fee and Martin left for personal reasons. Rovers suffered a dismal 4-0 defeat. Lukas Schubert, Ronan Curtis, Aaron McEneff and Rory Holden scored the goals for Derry. Leaders Cork beat St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-0 thanks to a first half goal from who else but Sean Maguire. Owen Garvan was sent off during half-time from St. Pat’s, he had been booked in the first half for diving and then received a second yellow for complaining about it in the tunnel! In the First Division Waterford continue to lead the way and they were 2-1 winners at home to Wexford. Despite drawing 0-0 with Longford Town, UCD are second. Cabinteely beat Cobh Ramblers 2-1 and Athlone were beaten 3-1 at home by Shelbourne.