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A 1-1 draw with Wexford Youths saw Longford Town slip up in their promotion chase, as a 3-0 win for Limerick FC over Mervue United moved the Blues to the top of the table


Athlone Town 1-1 Finn Harps
Athlone Town Stadium saw two mid-table sides play out a score draw as Athlone Town came back from a goal behind to grab a point against Finn Harps.

Debutant Michael Funston looked lively for Harps in the opening half hour, but neither side created anything of note. The deadlock was broken when Pat Jennings failed to properly clear a Harps free, and Aaron O'Hagan was in the right place to put the ball past him.

The second half was a more entertaining spectacle, with Athlone levelling through Noel McGee on 54 minutes. McGee had been introduced by Mike Kerley at half time and made an instant impact connecting with Mark Sherlock's pass.

Both sides had chances at the end, but Jennings stood firm to deny Adam Clarke and Sean McGowan while James Doherty saved Harps right at the end with a header off the line.

Mervue United 0-3 Limerick FC
Pre-season favourites Limerick FC took hold of top spot thanks to a 3-0 win over struggling Mervue United.

Limerick dominated the opening stages and were two up after half an hour. Sean Brosnan found the net from Rory Gaffney's pass before Shane Tracy made it two from the spot. Joe Gamble had been fouled in the area by Mike Elwood, and referee Kevin O'Regan had no choice other than to point to the spot.

Tracy was the provider for the third, as he floated in a free kick which Jeffrey Judge headed home. Mervue never looked like clawing their way back into the game, and Limerick now move ahead of Longford Town on goal difference.

Waterford United 3-0 SD Galway
SD Galway looked very much like the bottom-placed side as they slumped to a 3-0 loss against Waterford United.

Waterford should have had an early penalty for a foul on Peter Keegan, but a goal looked imminent as they continued to push men forward. Peter Higgins made the breakthrough in the 11th minute before teenager Sean Maguire continued his impressive run with another goal to make it 2-0 before the half-hour mark.

Tony Mannion made a 30th-minute substitution with SD Galway floundering, but they struggled to get into the game, and failed to improve in the second half. Jack Doherty added a third in the 87th minute, but by then many of the away fans had already begun the journey home.

Wexford Youths 1-1 Longford Town
A stunning free kick from Daniel Purdy saw Longford Town come back from a goal behind to take a point against Wexford Youths at Ferrycarrig Park.

An open first half saw both sides settle well, with Aidan Kennan going closest for the Youths and Tony Griffiths forcing Graham Doyle into an early save. An injury to Noel Haverty forced Tony Cousins into an unscheduled change, with Purdy being introduced after just 20 minutes.

Wexford were ahead soon after as Mark Salmon fouled Craig Wall in the box. Danny Furlong stepped up to put the ball past Craig Hyland for his fourth goal of the season. Furlong nearly had a second but Salmon atoned for his sins with a wonderful last ditch tackle to keep the forward out.

Longford were the better side in the second half, and deserved their 54th-minute equaliser. Danny Purdy hit a beautiful 35 yard free kick which sailed past everyone and into the top corner past Doyle.

The visitors pushed on for a winning goal, but some dogged defending from Shane Keegan's side saw Wexford hold out for a hard-fought point, while Longford slipped from top spot.

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