Many Irish players were in action in the FA Cup over the weekend, with Premier League managers rotating their squads and lower league players getting a chance to prove themselves
By Ronan Murphy
Reading came back from a goal down to beat League One side Crawley Town in the Third Round of the FA Cup. Irishmen Ian Harte, Alex Pearce, Jay Tabb, and Noel Hunt all started for the Royals, with Harte involved in the equaliser. Noel Hunt got on the scoresheet to put Reading ahead before winning the penalty that sealed the 3-1 victory.
Shay Given returned to the Aston Villa starting line up against Ipswich Town and impressed with a number of important saves in his side's 2-1 victory.
In one of the round's all-Premier League ties, QPR forced a replay with West Bromwich Albion with a last minute equaliser after Shane Long looked to have sealed the Baggies' progress.
Conor Sammon and Jeff Hendrick were again on target for Derby County, as they demolished Tranmere Rovers 5-0 to easily seal a place in the Fourth Round draw.
Southend United could face Chelsea in the Fourth Round if they can win their replay against Brentford. Saturday's game finished 2-2 after Barry Corr scored twice with his head to come back from two goals down.
Hull City and Leyton Orient will also have to play again thanks to an injury time goal. Dave Mooney was on target for the O's with his ninth goal of the season, but it wasn't enough to send the away side through.
Bournemouth pulled off one of the surprises of the round by holding Premier League side Wigan Athletic to a 1-1 draw. A long-range effort from Ireland under-21 international Eunan O'Kane gave Bournemouth the lead, and they will be spurred on in the replay by a relatively easy fixture against Macclesfield Town if they progress.
Just four games went ahead in League One due to the FA Cup games, with Ireland under-21 striker James Collins continuing his good form in Swindon Town's 4-0 win over Carlisle United. Collins scored from close range to move the Robins to within five points of top spot.
Exeter City climbed to fifth place in the League Two table with a 2-1 win away to York City. Former Wexford Youths midfielder Jimmy Keohane bagged the winner for the Grecians with his first ever goal for the club.
Jay O'Shea put Chesterfield ahead at Wycombe Wanderers, but the Spireites couldn't hold onto their lead and went down 2-1 to stay four points behind the playoffs.
PAOK held onto second place in the Greek Super League thanks to 4-1 win over Panthrakikos. Liam Lawrence started for the visitors in an experimental 4-3-3 formation, and saw his side go a goal down. However, coach Giorgios Donis reverted to a 4-4-2 with half an hour remaining, seeing his side totally turn the game around.
|IRISH XI OF THE DAY
Goalkeeper: Shay Given (Aston Villa)
Defenders: Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Mark O'Brien (Derby), Marc Tierney (Norwich)
Midfielders: Jay O'Shea (Chesterfield), Jimmy Keohane (Exeter), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth)
Forwards: Barry Corr (Southend), James Collins (Swindon), Noel Hunt (Reading)