Irish internationals Andy Keogh and Simon Cox both found the net in the Championship, while David Meyler and Robbie Brady made their first appearance for Hull City
By Ronan Murphy
Former Shamrock Rovers defender Enda Stevens made his first Premier League start for Aston Villa on Saturday, and played well against Manchester United in a 3-2 loss, negating the threat of Antonio Valencia down the wing. Ciaran Clark should have done better marking match-winner Javier Hernandez, but Stephen Ireland pulled the strings in the Villa midfield.
Following on from his five minute cameo last weekend, Glenn Whelan returned to the Stoke City starting XI for the first time since October after recovering from a hamstring injury. The Ireland international was impressive alongside Charlie Adam and lasted the full 90 minutes of Stoke's 1-0 win over QPR.
Andy Keogh netted his fourth league goal of the season as Millwall defeated Derby County 2-1 to move up to 10th place. The goal was followed by Keogh's return to the Ireland squad, as he was called up to replace Aiden McGeady for Wednesday's friendly with Greece.
Fellow international Simon Cox also moved to four Championship goals as he scored from the spot to earn a point for Nottingham Forest at Leicester City.
Mick McCarthy made it two wins from three as Ipswich Town manger, with Daryl Murphy scoring in a 2-1 win over Burnley, while Mark Yeates and Sean Murray both scored for Watford in a 6-1 win over Leeds United.
Robbie Brady and David Meyler both got half an hour on the pitch to make their first appearances for Hull City since joining on loan in midweek.
Brentford captain Jonathan Douglas continued his good season with another goal to help the Bees climb to eighth with a 2-1 win over Carlisle United.
Bournemouth recorded their fifth win in six games thanks to Harry Arter's 38th-minute drive from the edge of the box, seeing the side move further up the table, and to within five points of a playoff spot.
Another team who continue to set League One alight are Milton Keynes Dons, who ended Sheffield United's unbeaten start with a last-minute victory. Dubliner Shaun Williams scored from the spot after fellow Irishman David McAllister fouled Dean Bowditch in the area.
Exeter City twice came from behind to draw with Fleetwood Town, with John O'Flynn scoring a penalty kick to make it 2-2. The draw keeps both teams in contention of a playoff spot.
A Paul Heffernan double helped Kilmarnock to a 3-0 win over Ross County. The second-half strikes were Heffernan's first two goals of the season after the striker missed the first 10 weeks of the campaign due to a shoulder injury. Heffernan made his first start of the season, partnering Cillian Sheridan, and Killie boss Kenny Shiels will be hoping the Wicklow forward can match his tally of 11 SPL goals last year.
Jonny Hayes grabbed his third goal of the season for Aberdeen, opening the scoring in a 4-1 win over St Mirren. The victory keeps the Dons in third position.
Robbie Keane continued his prodigious goal-scoring form as he bagged two more goals in LA Galaxy's 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders in game one of the Western Conference Championship.
Ireland under-19 goalkeeper Sean McDermott made his fourth consecutive start for Norweigan Tippeligaen side Sandnes Ulf, and pulled off some great saves in a 2-1 victory over Stromsgodset which moves the Wolves out of the relegation zone. McDermott signed for Sandnes Ulf in August after being released by Arsenal.
Billy Mehmet grabbed his third goal in six games for Perth Glory in a 1-1 draw with Adelaide United to keep Glory within three points of A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners.
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Sean McDermott (Sandnes Ulf)
Defenders: Michael Spillane (Dag & Red), Matt Doherty (Bury), Tommie Hoban (Watford), Enda Stevens (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa), Jonathan Douglas (Brentford), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen)
Forwards: Paul Heffernan (Kilmarnock), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)