The Derby County midfielder marked a memorable week with a goal for Derby County, while other Irishmen also impressed cross-channel and further afield
By Ronan Murphy
Aston Villa recorded their first win of 2013 with a 2-1 victory against West Ham United. Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark repeated his impressive midweek performance with another good outing for the Villans, making a couple of crucial blocks to move Paul Lambert's side out of the relegation zone.
After watching on from the bench for Ireland's game with Poland, Alex Pearce started Reading's Premier League tie with Stoke City, but will want to forget the game after being involved in both of Stoke's goals. Glenn Whelan sent in the corner for Robert Huth's opener, with the defender rising above Pearce to head in. The 24-year-old was then outmuscled for Cameron Jerome's winner.
After making his Irish senior debut in midweek, Jeff Hendrick continued his memorable week with a goal for Derby County. The Dubliner gave the Rams the lead in their 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, keeping them within five points of the playoffs.
Sean O'Driscoll met his former club Nottingham Forest for the first time as Bristol City manager, and recorded a 2-0 victory over his former employers. O'Driscoll was sacked with Forest in the playoff places, but the club now find themselves in mid-table after Alex McLeish's short and unsuccessful spell in charge.
Jimmy Ryan and Niall Canavan scored both goals in Scunthorpe United's 2-1 win against Crawley Town. Ryan equalised in the second-half before Ireland under-21 defender Canavan headed home 11 minutes from time.
Michael Doyle opened the scoring as Sheffield United defeated Shrewsbury Town 2-1 to keep up Sheffield United's promotion push.
Martin Rowlands missed a penalty for Leyton Orient against Tranmere Rovers, but atoned for his mistake with their second goal in a 2-1 win.
Once again, Paddy Madden guided Yeovil Town to victory, scoring the only goal in their 1-0 away win at Coventry City. The strike was Madden's eight in his last five games, and sees the Glovers climb to seventh.
Former Wexford Youths midfielder Jimmy Keohane helped Exeter City to a 3-0 win over Morecambe, with many marauding runs and dangerous crosses, including the delivery for the Grecians' second goal.
Ireland under-21 international Daniel Kearns and Lee Frecklington played a 45 minutes for Rotherham United in their 2-0 defeat against Burton Albion. Northern Ireland international Billy Kee scored twice to ensure victory for the Brewers.
Elsewhere, former Galway United midfielder Jay O'Shea picked up a yellow card in Chesterfield's 2-0 home victory against bottom-placed AFC Wimbeldon as Paul Cook's men continue to push for a playoff spot.
Dundee United moved up to sixth in the Scottish Premier League table with a 3-1 victory over Hearts. Willo Flood struck the Terrors' second, while Jon Daly was unlucky not to find the scoresheet after some solid work up front.
Aaron Doran assisted Inverness Caledonian Thistle's opener against Celtic, but could not stop Neil Lennon's side from fighting back to record a 3-1 victory and open up an 18 point lead at the top of the SPL.
Former Ireland international Liam Miller once again was helpless as Perth Glory were defeated 2-0 by Melbourne Heart. Perth remain rooted to the bottom of the A-League after a fifth successive defeat.
Liam Lawrence returned to the scoresheet for PAOK, helping them to a 3-1 win over OFI Heraklion to return to second-place in the Greek Super League. The Irish midfielder slotted in the second after a defensive mistake, and also had a hand in PAOK's first goal, crossing for Stefanos Athanasiadis.
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Mark Bunn (Norwich)
Defenders: Sean Dillon (Dundee Utd), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Niall Canavan (Scunthorpe), Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen)
Midfielders: Liam Lawrence (PAOK), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Michael Doyle (Sheffield United), Jimmy Keohane (Exeter)
Forwards: Paddy Madden (Yeovil)