Matchday 30 in the League of Ireland Premier Division was extremely frantic and the final match of the matchday would be important in both the title race and relegation battle.
The final match of Matchday 30 featured League of Ireland Premier Division leaders, Shamrock Rovers, against last placed, Finn Harps, at Tallaght Stadium. The reason why this match was on Sunday rather than the usual Friday was because Rovers played on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa Conference League and had a goalless draw with Djurgårdens IF.
Rovers came into the match with a one point lead on second place Derry City and a three point lead on Dundalk FC. But Rovers had two matches in hand on Derry and three on Dundalk, meaning a win would give them much needed separation at the top.
On the other hand, Finn Harps came into Tallaght at the bottom of the table after UCD leapfrogged them on Friday evening with an astonishing win against Dundalk. The Harps trailed UCD by one point, but this was their game on hand on their relegation rivals.
Shamrock Rovers were able to increase their lead at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division with a 5-1 win over Finn Harps
As expected, Rovers dominated the match and were the better side. Neil Farrugia opened the scoring for the league leaders in the eighth minute as he slotted a rebound into the Harps net.
Within a seven minute span starting at the 36th minute, Rory Gaffney converted from the spot to give Rovers a two-goal lead. Five minutes later, Andy Lyons scored to give Rovers a 3-0 lead, and then finally Neil Farrugia scored to give Rovers a convincing 4-0 lead going into halftime.
Finn Harps were able to get a goal back courtesy of Jaime Siaj in the 57th minute, but after conceding, Rovers played good defense to deny Finn Harps any additional goals and added one more goal of their own to win 5-1.
With this result, Rovers now hold onto a four point lead in first place with eight matches remaining in their season. Finn Harps occupy last place in the Premier Division and are one point behind UCD.
The schedule for the next couple of weeks in the premier division is a bit out of the ordinary. Matchday 31 will commence the weekend of September 30th. Between now and then there will be four different league fixtures as clubs make up their matches in hand. Also, the quarterfinals of the FAI Cup will be next weekend.
On Thursday evening, Shamrock Rovers will head to Belgium to take on Gent in their second game of the Conference League group stages.
League of Ireland Fans: Which match do you think was the most entertaining this past weekend in the League of Ireland? Leave your comments below!