By Malachy Clerkin
DUBLIN — Sunday was a day for shocks in the Premier Division of the National League, with both Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne tripping over hurdles they would have expected to clear with ease. Shelbourne were left with especially red faces when they were beaten by bottom club Monaghan United, while Shamrock Rovers went down away to Bray Wanderers.
In Monaghan, a 78th minute goal from Derek McGrath earned the home side what was only their second win of the season, 1-0. In what turned out to be a wonderfully entertaining game, each side had their chances and some fine goalkeeping at either end was all that kept the score down. And the game appeared to be petering out somewhat when Eddie Maier drove down the left wing and crossed for McGrath to power home a wonderful diving header.
At the Carlisle Grounds, Bray had a surprise 2-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers overshadowed by some eccentric refereeing. Jason Byrne’s opening goal after 64 minutes was the main bone of contention. Paul Keegan slipped the ball through for Byrne and as he went through, the linesman raised his flag for offside and then lowered it again. Shamrock Rovers, understandably furious, never recovered. Byrne notched his second nine minutes from the end, holding off the challenge of Terry Palmer to score. Rovers got their consolation goal in injury time from substitute Sean Francis.