By Ronan Murphy
Queens Park Rangers remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after failing to win once again. QPR, now 16 games without a win, were undone by Wigan Athletic's James McCarthy who opened and closed the scoring in a 2-2 draw. The goals are McCarthy's first since February 2011 and help keep the Latics above the relegation zone.
Giovanni Trapattoni was in attendance at Villa Park on Saturday where Aston Villa and Stoke City played out a dismal 0-0 draw. Ciaran Clark was solid for the hosts, putting in a crunching tackle on fellow Irishman Glenn Whelan, and even taking the captain's armband for the game's final 24 minutes.
Hull City's Irish loanees David Meyler and Robbie Brady were both on target in a 2-1 win over Watford, which sees them climb to fourth in the table. Meyler headed in to open the scoring, while Brady added a goal in the second half with a well-taken free-kick.
Derby County defeated Leeds United 3-1 in a midtable battle that saw Conor Sammon keep up his good form, while Paul Green scored the only goal for the visitors. Richard Keogh had a shot turned into the net for Derby's second, while Jeff Hendrick was lucky to stay on the pitch after a lunge on Ryan Hall in the first half.
Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town moved five points clear of relegation with a 3-0 win over Millwall. Daryl Murphy was on target for the Tractor Boys.
Joe Mason helped Cardiff City to a 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers on Friday night, while Owen Garvan once again found the net for Crystal Palace.
Brentford climbed above Milton Keynes Dons in the League One table with the odd goal in a thrilling five-goal encounter at Griffin Park. There was plenty of Irish involvement in the fixture, with former international Jonathan Douglas and under-21 captain Rob Kiernan featuring for the Bees. Two-time Ireland international midfielder Stephen Gleeson looked to give MK Dons the three points with his 53rd minute strike, but Brentford fought back and grabbed a last minute winner.
John O'Flynn had a hand in all three of Exeter City's goals as they moved into the playoff spots with a 3-2 win against Rochdale. O'Flynn's shot was parried to Pat Baldwin for the opener, before he added two of his own to make it 3-0 at half-time. Rochdale fought back in the second-half, but Paul Tisdale's side held out for three points.
Jay O'Shea struck against old club Port Vale to give Chesterfield a 2-0 victory, and extend their winning streak to four games. O'Shea spent time on loan with Vale in 2011, scoring once in five games. He has already matched that tally on his debut for Chesterfield, after joining on loan from MK Dons.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle moved up to second in the SPL table, overtaking Hibernian with a 3-0 victory. Richie Foran scored a second half header for ICT, while Ireland under-21 international Aaron Doran set-up Billy McKay for the third.
Celtic remain at the top of the table thanks to a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock. Paul Heffernan went close for the hosts, while Cillian Sheridan added a late consolation goal with his eighth SPL strike this season.
PAOK kept up their Greek Super League title push with a 1-0 win over Levadiakos. Irish international Liam Lawrence was sent on with the game scoreless in the second half, and helped his club stay in second spot with a fine performance in the middle of the park.
In the 2.Bundesliga, Union Berlin moved up to fifth place with a 2-0 victory over Kaiserslautern. Former Ireland under-21 international Patrick Kohlmann impressed once again for Union, putting in a hard-working display at full-back.
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Stephen Henderson (Ipswich)
Defenders: Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Richard Keogh (Derby), Patrick Kohlmann (Union Berlin)
Midfielders: Robbie Brady (Hull), Paul Green (Leeds), James McCarthy (Wigan), Aaron Doran (Inverness)
Forwards: John O'Flynn (Exeter), Conor Sammon (Derby), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)